The world’s most traveled crew transport spacecraft will launch again tonight

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft stands on Launch Complex 39A ahead of a launch attempt Sunday night. (credit: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

SpaceX’s oldest Crew Dragon spacecraft is about to launch on its fifth mission to the International Space Station, and engineers are crunching data to see if the fleet of Dragons can safely fly as many as 15 times.

It has been five years since SpaceX launched the first Crew Dragon spacecraft on an unpiloted test flight to the space station, and nearly four years since SpaceX’s first astronaut mission took off in May 2020. Since then, SpaceX has put its clan of Dragons to use ferrying astronauts and cargo to and from low-Earth orbit.

Now, it’s already time to talk about extending the life of the Dragon spaceships. SpaceX and NASA, which shared the cost of developing the Crew Dragon, initially certified each capsule for five flights. Crew Dragon Endeavour, the first in the Dragon fleet to fly astronauts, is about to launch on its fifth mission to the space station.

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