Pacific Storms Delay Dragon’s Return Flight From ISS
By Space Coast Daily // March 25, 2013
Departure Now Set For Tuesday, March 26
BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – The return flight of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station back to Earth has been moved to Tuesday.
Originally planned for today, Dragon’s return was moved back one day because of storms near the recovery site in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.
NASA has said the delay will not affect analysis of sensitive scientific experiments Dragon will be bringing back to Earth.
The Dragon will detach from the ISS Harmony module and monitored by ISS Expedition 35 Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and ISS Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency during its flight home.
Detachment time is expected to come shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday as the space station’s robotic arm releases the spacecraft and its securing bolts are uncoupled.
Dragon will then execute three thruster firings to maneuver away from the ISS.
The spacecraft’s de-orbit burn is planned for 11:40 a.m. with splashdown coming about 12:36 p.m. west of Baja California in the Pacific Ocean.
On board the Dragon will be some 2,668 pounds of science samples from ISS research, along with biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and educational activities.
Specific ISS experiments assist NASA researchers in assessing long-duration spaceflight upon the human body.
Also coming back aboard the Dragon are a series of plant samples that have studied food production during future long-duration space missions and could possibly enhance food production on Earth.
The Dragon blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on March 1 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceX is the first commercial company to perform a resupply for NASA to the International Space Station. Manned SpaceX Dragon flights to the ISS could come as early as 2017.