SpaceX Dragon Departs Space Station To Return Scientific Cargo to Earth

SpaceX Dragon Cargo Craft Backs Away From Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft backs away from the space station moments after undocking from the Harmony module’s forward port during an orbital sunrise. Credit: NASA TV

At 11:00 a.m. EDT (8:00 a.m. PDT) on Friday, August 19, flight controllers on the ground sent commands to release the uncrewed SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module. The station was flying about 259 miles over the Pacific Ocean at the time of release at 11:05 a.m.

The Dragon spacecraft successfully departed the space station one month after arriving at the orbiting laboratory to deliver about 5,800 pounds of cargo including crew supplies and scientific investigations.

Today, ground controllers at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, will command a deorbit burn. After re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft will make a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Florida. NASA TV will not broadcast the de-orbit burn and splashdown, and updates will be posted on the agency’s space station blog.

Dragon arrived at the space station on July 16, following a launch two days earlier on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was the company’s 25th commercial resupply services mission to the space station for NASA.

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