The SpaceX Dragon robotic cargo capsule returns to Earth today (April 15) after a month of standing still on the International Space Station.
The Dragon CRS-27 supply vessel exited the International Space Station at 11:05 a.m. EST (1505 GMT) as both spacecraft orbited high above the Indian Ocean, beginning the hours-long journey back to its home planet. SpaceX wrote that it was expected to fall to Earth about six hours after it was unpacked Twitter update (Opens in a new tab).
“After re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft will make a parachute-assisted splash off the coast of Florida on Saturday, April 15,” NASA wrote in its book. blog post (Opens in a new tab). NASA will not be broadcasting a live stream of the Dragon capsule.
Related: Facts about SpaceX’s Dragon capsule
Dragon blasted into orbit from Space Force Station Cape Canaveral in Florida on March 14, launching the 27th SpaceX robotic cargo to NASA’s orbital laboratory.
Dragon carried about 6,300 pounds (2,860 kilograms) of supplies on its mission, known as CRS-27. (CRS stands for “Commercial Resupply Services”). The shipment included a variety of devices, 60 different science experiments and some tasty treats for the station’s astronauts.
“The crews asked for some fresh fruit and refrigerated cheeses,” Phil Dempsey, transportation integration manager for the International Space Station Program at NASA, said during a press conference before CRS-27’s launch on March 13. [and] Cherry tomatoes, plus a few different cheeses.”
CRS-27 Dragon will carry about 4,300 pounds (1,950 kg) of “experimental instrumentation and research samples” to Earth today, according to a NASA blog.
This is a unique ability of the SpaceX capsule. The other two robotic cargo vehicles currently servicing the space station — Russia’s Progress and Northup Grumman’s Cygnus — are designed to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere when their time in orbit ends.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1:45 p.m. ET to reflect the successful removal of the Dragon CRS-27 spacecraft.
Mike Wall is the author of “outside (Opens in a new tab)Book (Major Grand Publishers, 2018; illustration by Carl Tate), a book about the search for aliens. Follow him on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @employee (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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