SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship returns to Earth

May 5, 2018
This NASA handout image shows an unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo craft approaching the International Space Station in August 2017

SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo ship splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, the company said, a few hours after leaving the International Space Station Saturday carrying 4,000 pounds (1,800 kilograms) of gear.

"Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed, completing SpaceX's third resupply mission to and from the @Space_Station with a flight-proven spacecraft," tweeted the company owned by Elon Musk around 1900 GMT.

The white supply vessel detached from the orbiting outpost at 1323 GMT, fired its engines three times and slowly began its journey to Earth.

"Release confirmed," commentator Rob Navias said on NASA TV, noting that separation occurred as the ISS was 256 miles (411 kilometers) above the Earth, passing over just south of Australia.

"Dragon is safely on its way."

The spacecraft is bringing back a host of science experiments, including lab mice that were studied in orbit to see how their bones changed in weightlessness.

"Other critical biological samples preserved in science freezers, such as plants, insects and human tissue, have also been transferred into Dragon for retrieval and analysis," said a NASA statement.

SpaceX's Dragon is currently the only designed to return to Earth intact. The other US commercial supply ship, Orbital ATK's Cygnus cargo carrier, burns up on re-entry to Earth's atmosphere.

The cargo ship arrived at the ISS April 4 after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with 5,800 pounds of food, supplies and to enable the study of thunderstorms, anti-cancer drugs and technology to remove debris in orbit.

The mission was the 14th for SpaceX under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to resupply the space station over multiple years.

Explore further: Cargo-packed Dragon arrives at space station

Related Stories

Cargo-packed Dragon arrives at space station

April 4, 2018

SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo ship arrived Wednesday at the International Space Station, packed with food, gear and science experiments for the astronauts living in orbit.

Recommended for you

Physicists discover new class of pentaquarks

March 26, 2019

Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, has uncovered new information about a class of particles called pentaquarks. His findings could lead to a new understanding ...

Study finds people who feed birds impact conservation

March 26, 2019

People in many parts of the world feed birds in their backyards, often due to a desire to help wildlife or to connect with nature. In the United States alone, over 57 million households in the feed backyard birds, spending ...

Matter waves and quantum splinters

March 25, 2019

Physicists in the United States, Austria and Brazil have shown that shaking ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) can cause them to either divide into uniform segments or shatter into unpredictable splinters, depending ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Parsec
not rated yet May 06, 2018
I do love the fact that we finally have a real private space industry going. No all we need to do is figure out how to avoid Kessler Syndrome and space, will really start to become available as a source of resources, not just information.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.