May 30, 2012
— As the first commercial spacecraft to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) prepares to return to Earth, the company behind the history-making capsule has made it possible for its fans to land their own Dragon.
The California-based Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, has licensed Canada-based Proach Models to create the first commercially-available models of Dragon spacecraft and Falcon rockets. The first of its kind deal was launched within hours of SpaceX seeing the Dragon successfully attached to the complex on May 25.
Less than a week later, after having been unpacked of its cargo and repacked with return items, the real Dragon is ready to depart the outpost, re-enter the atmosphere and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the United States on Thursday (May 31).
The privately-designed Dragon capsule is scheduled to be detached from the station via robotic arm at 4:05 a.m. EDT (0805 GMT), and released into its own orbit by 5:35 a.m. EDT (0935 GMT) to land back on Earth at 11:44 a.m. EDT (1544 GMT).
Dragon enthusiasts will need to wait a bit longer for the replicas to touchdown on their doorstep. Proach Models is now accepting pre-orders for the newly-announced models with first delivery expected in approximately three months.
Dragon on demand
The Proach Models' line of SpaceX displays, which build upon the company's line of spacecraft and rocket models first introduced in 1994, includes both the capsule and its launch vehicle, as well other versions of the commercial space company's rockets.
Proach Models' 1:72 scale SpaceX Falcon 9 with Dragon capsule stands more than two feet tall. (Proach Models)
The real Dragon stands 19 feet tall (5.9 meters) and 12 feet wide (3.7 meters). At 1/48 scale, the Proach Models' version is 4.75 inches by 3 inches (12 by 8 centimeters), not including its miniature solar array wings and display stand.
The model capsule includes thruster details and both the SpaceX and Dragon logos.
Proach is offering the hand-crafted and finished spacecraft for a special introductory price of $395.
If rockets are more to your liking, Proach is also offering a 1/72 scale model of the 18-story tall Falcon 9 that stands over 2 feet tall (0.6 meters) and is topped with a small (3 inches or 8 centimeters) Dragon. The Falcon comes with a black walnut base and a nameplate.
The Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon retails for $1,395.
These are the same replicas that Proach Models has been crafting for SpaceX for the company's use since 2009.
"SpaceX is a great company to work with and we are very happy for their success," Nick Proach, Proach Models CEO, said. "We look forward to working more closely with SpaceX as they continue to lead the way in commercial spaceflight."
Proach Models' line of SpaceX rockets, from left: Falcon Heavy, Falcon 9 with satellite fairing and Falcon 1E. (Proach Models)
Proach is also offering a Falcon 9 with a scale version of a 17-foot (5 meter) fairing for satellite launches, and the Falcon Heavy, the company's heavy-lift rocket. All the models are available in 1/72 scale and measure between 26 and 30 inches (66 an 76 centimeters) tall, depending on the version.
Proach also plans a 1/48 scale Falcon 1E, based on the upgraded version of SpaceX's first launch vehicle.
Flying off the shelves
The Proach Models' line of SpaceX replicas are ready for display out of the box.
SpaceX's flying model of their Falcon 9 rocket with Dragon cargo capsule was introduced in 2011. (SPACE.com/Clara Moskowitz)
SpaceX earlier introduced its own model of the Falcon 9 with Dragon that requires some assembly, and can then blast off on its own scaled space (or at least atmospheric) missions.
First offered in celebration of the one-year anniversary of its first Dragon test flight in 2010, SpaceX released a 1:88 flying model rocket replicating its history-making vehicles.
The model kit, which comes with everything you need to build (but not fly, model rocket engines not included) the Dragon-topped Falcon, stands 23 inches (58 centimeters) tall. The kit can be ordered through Amazon.com for $30 (although is currently listed as out of stock).
For more about Proach Models' SpaceX-licensed displays or to order your own, see the company's website.