The SpaceX Dragon detached itself on Thursday, May 31 from the International Space Station and is back to earth. The cargo vessel spent one week with the ISS and touched own off the coast of California in the waters of the Pacific Ocean at approximately 11:42 a.m. ET.
Astronauts on the ISS filled the hull of the private ship with experiments that needed to be sent to earth for analysis before they shut the doors. They also put on the Dragon equipment that was not working or malfunctioned on the ISS. The total load that the SpaceX Dragon carried home comes out to 660 kilograms.
Early Thursday the astronauts on board the ISS started the procedure to undock the Dragon. They used a robotic arm to move the vessel away from the platform as the thruster of the private ship did the rest. Dragon didn’t use its own power to force itself out of the earth’s orbit and make its way down to earth. An array of equipment, ships and airplanes followed the decent and tracked the Dragon as it made its way home.
The American firm SpaceX made history when its Dragon ship lifted off and docked with the ISS on Friday, May 25. This was the first private vessel to connect with the ISS. The Dragon’s mission was to deliver different supplies including food to the platform in space. The historic flight was a test run for the unmanned craft and its successful completion will bring big returns for SpaceX. Nasa will award a 1.6 billion dollar contract to the company to ferry supplies to the orbiting space station.
SpaceX is not the only company that is engaged with NASA for transport of supplies. Orbital Sciences Corporation is also in the process of launching its freight ship named Cygnus to re-supply the space station. However, the company still is some months away from replicating the Dragon’s success.