Dragon 2 is a reusable spacecraft developed and manufactured by U.S. aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, intended as the successor to the Dragon cargo spacecraft. The spacecraft launches atop a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket and return via ocean splashdown. In comparison to Dragon, Dragon 2 has larger windows, new flight computers and avionics, redesigned solar arrays, and a modified outer mold line.
The spacecraft is planned to have two variants – Crew Dragon, a human-rated capsule capable of carrying up to seven astronauts, and Cargo Dragon, an updated replacement for the original Dragon. Cargo Dragon capsules are repurposed flown Crew Dragon capsules. Crew Dragon is equipped with an integrated launch escape system in a set of four side-mounted thruster pods with two SuperDraco engines each. Crew Dragon has been contracted to supply the International Space Station (ISS) with crew under the Commercial Crew Program, with the initial award occurring in October 2014 alongside Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner.
Video Credit: SpaceX