November 5, 2008 SpaceX, the company behind the Falcon series of launch vehicles and the Dragon space capsule, is developing a new free-flying, reusable, commercial craft. To be known as DragonLab, it will transport pressurized and unpressurized payloads to and from space, and will launch aboard a Falcon 9 vehicle.
The DragonLab will enable in-space experimentation and the deployment of small spacecraft. The DragonLab system controls propulsion, power, thermal control, environmental control, avionics, communications, thermal protection, flight software, guidance, navigation and control, entry, descent and landing and recovery.
SpaceX’s launch vehicle and capsule programs will eventually enable berthing with the ISS. The company is developing its technology as part of NASA’s COTS competition.
The maiden flight of the Dragon/Falcon9 is scheduled for June 2009.