SpaceX Dragon Departs Space Station after Delivering Slew of Science and Returns with Ocean Splashdown

October 9, 2015 – 02:55 am

A space-weathered @SpaceX #Dragon looking great moments before release today. Credit: NASA/Reid WisemanConcluding a busy five week mission, the SpaceX Dragon CRS-4 commercial cargo ship departed the International Space Station (ISS) this morning, Oct. 25, after delivering a slew of some 2.5 tons of ground breaking science experiments and critical supplies that also inaugurated a new era in Earth science at the massive orbiting outpost following installation of the ISS-RapidScat payload.

Dragon released from snares of ISS robotic arm on Oct. 25, 2014 for return to Earth. Credit: NASADragon was released from the snares of the station’s robotic arm at 9: 57 a.m. EDT while soaring some 250 mi (400 km) over the northwest coast of Australia.

It returned safely to Earth with a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean some six hours later, capping the fourth of SpaceX’s twelve contracted station resupply missions for NASA through 2016.

“The Dragon is free!” exclaimed NASA commentator Rob Navias during a live broadcast on NASA TV following the ungrappling this morning. “The release was very clean.”

Dragon moves away from ISS on Oct. 25, 2014 for return to Earth. Credit: NASA TV

The private resupply ship was loaded for return to Earth with more than 3, 276 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from the station crew’s investigations on “human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations, and education activities sponsored by NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, the nonprofit organization responsible for managing research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station, ” said NASA.

The release set up a quick series of three burns by the ship’s Draco thrusters designed to carry Dragon safely away from the station.

NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Butch Wilmore quickly retracted the arm working from their robotics workstation in the domed Cupola module.

“Thanks for the help down there, ” the astronauts radioed. “It was a great day.”

The first burn took place a minute later at about 9:58 a.m. EDT and the second at about 10:00 a.m. A yaw maneuver at 10:05 a.m. set up the orientation required for the third burn at about 10:08 a.m.

SpaceX Dragon captures view of ISS after departure on Oct. 25, 2014 for return to Earth.  Credit: NASA  TV A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule packed with science experiments and station supplies blasts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 1:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 21, 2014 bound for the ISS.  Credit: Ken Kremer/ ISS-RapidScat instrument, shown in this artist's rendering, was launched to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX CRS-4 mission on Sept. 21, 2014 and attached at ESA’s Columbus module.  It will measure ocean surface wind speed and direction and help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johnson Space Center. SpaceX Falcon 9 erect at Cape Canaveral launch pad 40  awaiting launch on Sept 20, 2014 on the CRS-4 mission. Credit: Ken Kremer -


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  • avatar Was the Dragon cargo ship built by NASA?
    • SpaceX is a private-sector space exploration company that hopes to take the place of the US Space Shuttle program. On May 19th 2012 they are testing both their reusable Falcon 9 rocket and solar-powered remote-controlled Dragon cargo ship.