Splashdown! SpaceX Dragon capsule arrives back on Earth after historic visit to the ISS

October 14, 2015 – 03:48 am

Historic: A handout photo provided by NASA on 29 May 2012 and taken by NASA astronaut Don Pettit shows the SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft as it approached the International Space Station ISS on 25 May 2012Let there be light: With rays of sunshine and the thin blue atmosphere of Earth serving as a backdrop, the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is berthed to the International Space Station

The module was carry supplies for the crew - everything from laboratory equipment to underwear.

After the Space Shuttle missions were scrapped, NASA is now relying on either Russian shuttles or commercial companies to offer them a 'lift' into space.

Splashdown! The SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule is seen floating in the Pacific Ocean Thursday after its successful mission to the International Space StationAs the shuttle detached from the ISS this morning, stunning pictures of the DragonX's views were beamed down to Earth.

These images show the dazzling sunrise seen from the module for the last time this morning as it was poised to wrap up a pioneering test flight and head back to Earth.

Dragon became the first privately-owned vehicle to reach International Space Station when it went into space last Friday.

Let there be light: With rays of sunshine and the thin blue atmosphere of Earth serving as a backdrop, the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is berthed to the International Space Station. It will return home todayHistoric: NASA astronaut Don Pettit's picture shows the SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft near the ISS

The vessel docked with the 0 billion research complex, a project of 15 countries, when astronauts used the station's robot arm to pluck it from orbit and latch it onto a berthing port as the spacecraft sailed about 250 miles above the planet.

The bell-shaped capsule, which was partly financed by NASA, was scheduled to be detached from the station at 4.05 am Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Thursday and released from the station's crane about 90 minutes later.

Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, successfully recovered a Dragon capsule from orbit during a previous test flight in December 2010.

Pioneers: The SpaceX Dragon is berthed to the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station's Harmony node, the first commercially developed space vehicle to be launched to the stationSpaceX mission director John Couluris told reporters yesterday: 'We've done it once but it's still a very challenging phase of flight.'

The United States has been without its own transportation to the station since the space shuttles were retired last year. Rather than build and operate a government-owned replacement, NASA is investing in companies such as SpaceX with the intention of buying rides for its cargo - and eventually astronauts - on commercial vehicles, a far cheaper alternative.

Couluris said: 'The ability to get to (the) space station on our first time, to not only rendezvous but then to berth, transfer cargo and depart safely are major mission objectives. We would call that mission alone a success.'

Reaction: André Kuipers, a Dutch physician and astronaut with the European Space Agency who docked the capsule, said it reminded him of a science-fiction movie setThe successful trial run is expected to clear SpaceX to begin working off its 12-flight.6 billion NASA contract to fly cargo to the station.

A second commercial freighter, built by Orbital Sciences Corp is expected to debut this year.

'Our plans are to carry out a test launch in the August-September time frame and the demonstration mission - same as what SpaceX impressively just did - in the November-December time frame, ' Orbital spokesman Barry Beneski said in a statement.

Pioneers: The SpaceX Dragon is berthed to the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station's Harmony node, the first commercially developed space vehicle to be launched to the station


Source: www.dailymail.co.uk

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  • avatar What was in a space capsule that recently returned to earth?
    • You'll have to be more specific about which capsule, or more precise about the word "recently".
      One notable "item" recently returned to Earth was the Canadian commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield, who has starred in a large number of especially enlightening Youtube videos shot in orbit.
      Comments: I think this is about the Russian space capsule that landed a few ago. That's "recent" enough. It contained mice and other creatures that had been sent into space.