Two Commercial Spacecrafts Attach to the ISS for the First Time

Monday, 11 April 2016 - 1:05PM
Space
Monday, 11 April 2016 - 1:05PM
Two Commercial Spacecrafts Attach to the ISS for the First Time
For the first time ever, SpaceX and Orbital ATK have launched spacecrafts and successfully attached them both to the International Space Station, heralding in a new era of commercial spaceflight:



Until relatively recently, resupply missions were carried out by government spacecraft. But over the last few years, private companies have become much more heavily involved with NASA, and now SpaceX and Orbital ATK are regularly bringing supplies to the ISS. In the above photo, SpaceX's Dragon and Orbital's Cygnus can be seen simultaneously docked at the ISS, with Russia's Soyuz spacecraft "photobombing" in the lower right-hand corner. 

This is a momentous occasion, not only because it demonstrates that commercial spaceflight is becoming a commonplace part of government-funded missions, but also as a result of the precious cargo. SpaceX's Dragon, which just docked yesterday, is carrying 7,000 pounds of scientific and research supplies for many different experiments, including drug testing that could treat conditions associated with long-term spaceflight, as well as the BEAM, an inflatable habitat module that could allow us to live on Mars.

Via NASA

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