Private SpaceX Capsule Lands After Historic Mission to Space Station

August 16, 2017 – 10:15 am

The private Dragon capsule built by SpaceX is seen at the end of the International Space Station's robotic arm during its undocking on Oct. 28, 2012.The private Dragon capsule built by SpaceX is seen at the end of the International Space Station's robotic arm during its undocking on Oct. 28, 2012, in this camera view. The Dragon capsule made the first commercial cargo delivery to the space station for NASA.
Credit: NASA TV

This story was updated at 3:25 p.m. EDT.

NASA's first commercial cargo flight ended with a splash today (Oct. 28), when the SpaceX Dragon capsule landed after a landmark mission to the International Space Station.

The unmanned Dragon space capsule, built by the U.S. company Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), splashed down into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California at 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT), ending a three-week visit to the orbiting laboratory.

Dragon began its descent with a de-orbit burn at 2:28 p.m. EDT (1828 GMT), after departing the station at 9:29 a.m. EDT (1329 GMT) as both spacecraft sailed 255 miles (410 kilometers) above Burma. The station's crew used the outpost's robotic arm to release the spacecraft.

"It was nice while she was on board. We tamed her [and] took her home, " space station commander Sunita Williams of NASA radioed Mission Control in Houston as the Dragon capsule departed. "Literally and figuratively, there are pieces of us on that spacecraft going home to Earth."

The Dragon capsule is returning hundreds of astronaut blood and urine samples from the space station amid the 1, 673 pounds (758 kilograms) of experiments and gear loaded on board. Some of those samples have been waiting for more than a year. NASA's final space shuttle mission landed in July 2011, leaving the agency without a way to return big cargo deliveries to Earth until Dragon's flight. [Photos: Dragon's 1st Space Cargo Delivery]

The spacecraft is expected to be retrieved by a SpaceX recovery crew so the cargo can be delivered to NASA. The mission is the first of 12 commercial resupply flights by SpaceX under a $1.6 billion deal with NASA.

The Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX (short for Space Exploration Technologies) launched the Dragon capsule toward the space station on Oct. 7 using one of the company's own Falcon 9 rockets and a pad at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The capsule was packed with 882 pounds (400 kg) of supplies to for the station, including 260 pounds (117 kg) of crew gear, 390 pounds (176 kg) of scientific equipment, 225 pounds (102 kg) of hardware and several pounds of other cargo, NASA officials said.


Source: www.space.com

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