SpaceX has verified that there has been an uptick in interest in civilian spaceflight after the Inspiration4 mission. Its Dragon cargo resupply spaceship will also resupply more than 4,600 pounds of supplies and vital research experiments to the International Space Station (ISS)!

These announcements were made after SpaceX successfully launched and returned the first all-civilian crew to space with its Inspiration4 mission earlier this month. While the journey had minor difficulties, such as challenges with the spacecraft's toilet, the journey was alright.

SpaceX to Expand Crew Dragon Fleet After Successful Inspiration4 Mission

SpaceFlightNow said SpaceX is considering expanding its Crew Dragon fleet to accommodate commercial astronauts and NASA astronauts traveling to and from the International Space Station due to the increased interest. Four additional ISS trips are currently scheduled under the SpaceX-NASA contract. SpaceX also has four other flights planned to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station for Axiom Space.

In addition to those two contracts, SpaceX has a third in place with Space Adventures, a space tourism firm. That contract is for a stand-alone mission that will place a crew in orbit but not transport them to the International Space Station. That mission will be comparable to Inspiration4 in terms of scope. SpaceX has a contract with NASA to deliver goods to and from the ISS, in addition to sending passengers into orbit and to the ISS.

One of SpaceX's challenges is that it only has a limited number of Crew Dragon capsules, each of which is only licensed for five missions. Two Crew Dragon capsules have already completed two flights. At this moment, it's unclear how many additional Crew Dragon spacecraft the firm will produce. It has stated, however, that if there is a need, it can build more.

Following the Inspiraiton4 mission, SpaceX claimed that there is "a lot of interest" in commercial space flight. SpaceX is developing Starship, which has yet to go into space. Once operational, Starship will be a significantly bigger spaceship than Dragon, capable of carrying more personnel and cargo into orbit. At this moment, it is unknown when it will be functioning.

 Uncrewed SpaceX Dragon Cargo Ship Docks at the ISS, Carrying New Solar Arrays and Fresh Experiment Supplies
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
This artist's concept shows a SpaceX Crew Dragon docking with the International Space Station as it will during a mission for NASA's Commercial Crew Program. NASA is partnering with Boeing and SpaceX to build a new generation of human-rated spacecraft capable of taking astronauts to the station and expanding research opportunities in orbit.


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SpaceX Dragon Cargo to Bring Supplies to ISS

Meanwhile, SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spaceship carrying more than 4,600 pounds of supplies and vital research experiments this week to ISS!

The space agency will broadcast the launch on Sept. 30 beginning at 8:45 a.m. EDT via NASA TV, the agency's website, and the NASA app.

According to a NASA statement, ground controllers at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, will instruct Dragon to undock from the station's Harmony module's forward port at 9:05 a.m.

Shane Kimbrough, a NASA astronaut, will keep an eye on things from the station's Cupola. Cargo Dragon will use its thrusters to go a safe distance away from the station before performing a deorbit burn later in the day, which will start its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Around 11 p.m., the spacecraft will perform a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Florida. The splashdown will not be aired live on NASA Television, but updates will be available on the space station blog.

Splashing down off the coast of Florida allows NASA's Space Station Processing Facility at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to quickly transport the science onboard the capsule. The studies were created to take advantage of the space station's microgravity, as the short travel time allowed researchers to collect data with little sample exposure to Earth's gravity.

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