Update: SpaceX Dragon Makes Way Back To Earth

By  //  March 26, 2013

Loading the player ...
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Delicious Digg This Stumble This

Splashdown Expected at 12:36 P.M.

(VIDEO: NASAtelevision)

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – The Dragon is back home.

The SpaceX Dragon was successfully uncoupled from the International Space Station at 7:06 a.m. Tuesday and is now on a flight back to Earth. (Image courtesy of NASA)

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying more than two tons of scientific experiments and equipment splashed down successfully in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja Califonia about 12:34 p.m. Tuesday.

It undocked from the International Space Station about 6:56 a.m. Tuesday morning and then executed three separate thruster firings to begin the process of maneuvering away from  the space station and initiate a descent back to Earth.

The spacecraft was supposed to return to Earth on Monday, but the voyage home was delayed one day because of storms near the recovery site in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.

The Dragon detached from the ISS Harmony module and was monitored by ISS Expedition 35 Flight Engineer and NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn and ISS Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency as it slowly made its way out of the flight path of the ISS.

The spacecraft’s final de-orbit burn put the wheels in motion for a picture-perfect splashdown.

The Dragon blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on March 1 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket and SpaceX engineers immediately had to overcome faulty thrusters in order for the spacecraft to be able to dock with the ISS. SpaceX is the first commercial company to perform a resupply for NASA to the International Space Station. A test flight of the Dragon was launched to the ISS last May and the first official flight under the terms of a $1.6 billion contract came last October.

It is carrying 2,668 pounds of science samples from ISS research, along with biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and educational activities.

Also coming back aboard the Dragon are a group 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 and SpaceX engineers immediately had to overcome faulty thrusters in order for the spacecraft to be able to dock with the ISS.

SpaceX is the first commercial company to perform a resupply for NASA to the International Space Station.  A test flight of the Dragon was launched to the ISS last May and the first official flight under the terms of a $1.6 billion contract came last October.

This was the second official flight of 12 planned resupply missions under that contract between NASA and SpaceX.


Click here to contribute your news or announcements Free