Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit

Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit
Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit
Operator SpaceX
Bus Dragon
Mission type Technology
Launch date 4 June 2010
18:45 UTC[1]
Carrier rocket Falcon 9 F1
Launch site Canaveral SLC-40
COSPAR ID 2010-026A
Orbital elements
Regime Low Earth
Inclination 34.5°
Apoapsis 252.5 km[1]
Periapsis 249.5 km[1]

The Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit was a boilerplate version of the Dragon spacecraft manufactured by SpaceX, a space transportation company in Hawthorne, California. After using it for ground tests to rate Dragon's shape and mass in various tests, SpaceX launched it into low-Earth orbit on Falcon 9 Flight 1, the maiden flight of the Falcon 9 rocket, on June 4, 2010. SpaceX used the launch to evaluate the aerodynamic conditions on the spacecraft and performance of the carrier rocket in a real-world launch scenario, ahead of Dragon flights for NASA under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.



The Dragon boilerplate launches aboard Falcon 9 Flight 1, June 4, 2010.

SpaceX announced in September 2009 that the Dragon Spacecraft Qualification Unit would be the payload for the first Falcon 9 launch.[2] At the time, launch was scheduled to occur no earlier than November 2009. The launch date had been delayed several times for various reasons, including finding an open launch date, approvals, and retesting. The spacecraft was launched and entered orbit on June 4, 2010.[3]


Following the launch, SpaceX left the qualification unit in low Earth orbit, where its orbit was allowed to decay and it reentered the atmosphere around 0050 GMT on June 27, 2010.[4] The qualification unit remained attached to the second stage of the launcher; production units will separate for orbital maneuvering.[5]

SpaceX lost contact with the DSQU and the Falcon 9 second stage shortly after orbit was achieved, as the on-board batteries were only designed to last long enough to launch. They re-entered in the early morning hours (UTC) on June 27, 2010. Although exact location is uncertain, it is believed to have disintegrated over Syria and Iraq.[4]

See also


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