Dragon is a spacecraft developed by SpaceX, an American private space transportation company based in Hawthorne, California. Dragon is launched into space by the SpaceX Falcon 9 two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle, and SpaceX is developing a crewed version called the Dragon 2. The Dragon spacecraft was originally designed for human travel, but so far has only been used to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). No private company had designed and flown a spacecraft without first being contracted by the government to do so. While carrying out resupply missions to the ISS, Space X has continued to work on the production of a human rated model. This model will be able to be controlled by the command center in Hawthorne, CA as well as by the crew of the spacecraft.
During its maiden flight in December 2010, Dragon became the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to be recovered successfully from orbit. On 25 May 2012, a cargo variant of Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with and attach to the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX is contracted to deliver cargo to the ISS under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services program, and Dragon began regular cargo flights in October 2012. With the Dragon spacecraft and the Orbital ATK Cygnus, NASA seeks to increase its partnerships with domestic commercial aviation and aeronautics industry.