SpaceX Dragon Capsule returns to Pacific Ocean after completing resupply mission to ISS
On Thursday, Robotic SpaceX Dragon ended the longest-lasting Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
The craft lifted off from Earth on April 14, atop a Falcon 9 rocket and spent five weeks at the space station. It was as packed with 4,300 pounds of food, supplies, and experiments for space travelers aboard the orbiting outpost.
The Dragon separated from the space station at 7:04 am EDT on May 21 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean155 miles southwest of Long Beach, California. It deployed a trio of parachutes before splashing down in the Ocean at 12:42 pm EDT.
Before depart of cargo ship from the ISS, space station occupants were packed the vehicle with 3,100 pounds of completed experiments and equipment.
The spacecraft will be housed at a port in Los Angeles. Scientific payload carried aboard the Dragon will be sent to NASA researchers within two days.
SpaceX officials reported, "At 9:42am PT, Dragon's splashdown into the Pacific Ocean is confirmed. Dragon returned to Earth with more than 3,000 pounds of cargo and science samples”.
An image the Pacific Ocean was captured by Sam Cristoforetti, an Italian astronaut aboard the ISS while the Dragon capsule was making its splashdown.
After the end of the space shuttle program by the US in 2011, SpaceX is one of two companies contracted by NASA to fly cargo to the ISS. NASA agreed to a 12-flight contract with the private space company, worth $1.6 billion.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has completed half of that obligation and the next re-supply mission from the company is scheduled for liftoff from Cape Canaveral on June 26.
That delivery could be crucial after the failure of Orbital Sciences Cygnus resupply mission in October and the loss of a Russian Progress cargo ship in April.
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