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It’s been 10 years since SpaceX completed a key mission

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SpaceX has clearly come a long way in the last decade.

Exactly 10 years ago, on May 31, the company’s Cargo Dragon capsule spread across the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, completing SpaceX’s first mission to and from the International Space Station (ISS) and launching a new era of spaceflight. Americans.

SpaceX chief Elon Musk acknowledged the anniversary in a tweet about the revolutionary Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Demo Flight 2 (COTS 2) mission in 2012.

10 years since the first SpaceX mission @Space station https://t.co/30xEtbXlT5

- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2022

In a high-profile flight that marked the first time a privately funded spacecraft docked with the ISS, Cargo Dragon launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 22, 2012, launched by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 missile, which since then it has become a key part. of its orbital operations.

Three days later, on May 25, the Canadarm2 robotic arm of the space station successfully captured the Dragon before landing it on the ISS a little later.

The astronauts aboard the station were then able to enter the spacecraft to collect the Dragon’s batch of supplies. In doing so, they became the first people to experience the inside of the capsule while in space. However, it would take another eight years for a more advanced version of the Dragon - Crew Dragon - to transport its first astronauts to and from the ISS, in what was another pioneering mission for SpaceX.

Crew Dragon left the ISS on May 31 for a successful return home a few hours later.

After fully evaluating the mission from launch to splashdown, NASA certified the Falcon 9 and Dragon spaceflight system from SpaceX, paving the way for regular cargo delivery missions to the station as part of the agency’s commercial procurement program space.

Musk said at the time that the arrival of the Dragon at the space station marked a “great day for the country and the world,” adding in a typically grandiose way that the mission set humans on track to become a multi-planet species. It may still be a long way off, but the successful mission of a decade ago propelled SpaceX to greater heights as it continues to pursue more ambitious missions - including those with crew on Mars - using the world’s most powerful spaceflight system. which is expected to be tested soon.

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