MKT Library

Saturday is Sexy… Sunday is Movies Night

Splashdown! SpaceX’s Dragon Cargo Spaceship Returns to Earth

By Megan Gannon, News Editor   |   October 25, 2014

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule splashes down in the Pacific Ocean on Oct. 25, 2014. Credit: SpaceX

A private SpaceX Dragon capsule dropped into the Pacific Ocean today (Oct. 25), returning almost 2 tons of cargo and science experiments to Earth from the International Space Station.

The unmanned Dragon was released from the space station at 9:57 a.m. EDT (1357 GMT). Its parachute-guided splashdown west of Baja California, which was confirmed around 3:38 p.m. EDT (1938 GMT), marked an end to SpaceX’s fourth of 12 unmanned delivery missions to the space station for NASA under a $1.6 billion contract.

Dragon had been attached to the orbiting lab for a little more than month. The supply ship launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sept. 21. It spent two days chasing the space station in orbit before docking with the astronaut outpost on Sept. 23, carrying 2.5 tons of food, supplies and critical science experiments, including the first 3D printer in space and a group of 20 mice to live inside a new rodent habitat. [See photos from the SpaceX-4 Dragon mission]

The astronauts living and working on board the space station finished packing Dragon by Friday (Oct. 24). NASA astronauts Barry Wilmore and Reid Wiseman maneuvered the robotic arm attached to the space station to unbolt Dragon for its trip home this morning.

Dragon is the only cargo ship that returns items to Earth intact. After the capsule is brought to port in California, it will be shipped to a SpaceX processing facility in McGregor, Texas. Dragon had been expected to return some of the experiments it brought to space — including a batch of mutant, stress-resistant fruit flies and some of the first test parts created in the 3D printer, built by the California-based company Made In Space. The capsule was also slated to return a small crop of lettuce grown in space as part of NASA’s Veg-01 experiment, first brought to the space station during SpaceX’s last resupply mission in April.

All in all, Dragon returned to Earth today with 3,276 pounds (1,486 kilograms) of cargo and science experiments, SpaceX representatives said.

The astronauts in orbit and mission planners on the ground are managing heavy traffic around the space station during the next few weeks. A NASA commentator in Mission Control in Houston likened it to an “air traffic control situation.”

Dragon’s release had initially been scheduled for Tuesday (Oct. 21), but mission officials decided to postpone the undocking because of stormy seas in the splashdown zone. Dragon’s departure leaves room for the next U.S. private cargo ship, Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch Monday (Oct. 27) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility off the coast of Virginia and arrive at the station the following Sunday (Nov. 2).

A Russian Progress 56 capsule will undock early Monday after more than three months at the station, making way for the arrival of the next Russian cargo vehicle, Progress 57, scheduled to launch early Wednesday (Oct. 29). Three of the crewmembers — Wiseman, Russian cosmonaut Max Suraev and European Space Agency astronaut Alex Gerst — are also preparing to leave the station in a Soyuz spacecraft on Nov. 9 after 165 days in orbit. Three more astronauts will replace them with another Soyuz launch in time for Thanksgiving.

Source: Space.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on October 27, 2014 by in Space News and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 301 other followers

Follow MKT Library on WordPress.com
ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Caz the Comic Strip

Cartoon strip about Caz and her family

candidscience.wordpress.com/

Don't just read the news, understand it!

Coffee Conversations

Official blog of Zurairi AR: Journo, researcher, humanist, father.

CHOUETT

Read it! 📖 Spark it! ✨

mesopotamia4ever

Everything on Mesopotamia, Modern Iraq, and Global Art

The Hitchhiking Postdoc

A guide to chemical biology and to the mind of a hitchhiking postdoc

TechCrunch

Startup and Technology News

Scrub Physics

Writings on science, technology, economics, and rationality

seepurple

illuminate

Snapzu Science

We blog the best science & space posts as submitted and voted on by the Snapzu community! Invites available!

ScienceQ publishing Group

Blog of scienceQ publishing Group

Duke Energy Nuclear Information Center

A glimpse into the world of nuclear energy

Sparkonit

Science - Simplified

Métaphysicien

My encounters with Cosmology

%d bloggers like this: