SpaceX Dragon COTS-2 Mission Animation

Rendition of Dragon approaching ISS (Credits: NASA/SpaceX).

The video below, courtesy of NASA, provides a detailed look at the launch, flight, and landing of SpaceX Dragon, due to launch to the ISS on a resupply mission on Feburary 7.  The flight will combine Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration testing and ISS rendezvous testing.

During the flight, Dragon will conduct a series of check-out procedures that will test and prove its systems in advance of the rendezvous with the station. The primary objectives for the flight include a fly-by of the space station at a distance of approximately two miles to validate the operation of sensors and flight systems necessary for a safe rendezvous and approach. The spacecraft also will demonstrate the capability to abort the rendezvous, if required.

Dragon will perform the final approach to the ISS while the station crew grapples the vehicle with the station’s robotic arm. The capsule will be berthed to the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node. At the end of the mission, the crew will reverse the process, detaching Dragon from the station for its return to Earth and splashdown in the Pacific off the coast of California. If the rendezvous and attachment to the station are not successful, SpaceX will complete a third demonstration flight in order to achieve these objectives as originally planned.


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