SpaceX Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Returns to Earth

After spending 28 days in space, the SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft has returned to Earth. According to SpaceX, the craft splashed down at about 8:14 a.m. EDT (1214 GMT) on July 3 in the Pacific Ocean. It took the Dragon craft about 5.5 hours to reach the Earth.

It brought with it over 1814 kilograms of cargo and experimental samples.

Earlier, the reused Dragon spacecraft departed the International Space Station at 2:41 a.m. EDT (0641 GMT). The robotic arm, Canadarm-2, of ISS released the spacecraft from the space station.  A ground team was guiding the robotic arm to detach the spacecraft, and then astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson finally commanded the release of the spacecraft, which eventually splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, about 260 miles southwest of the California coast. It will now be recovered by the SpaceX personnel and brought back to Long Beach in California. Important cargo will be returned to NASA for analysis and the spacecraft will be sent to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas.

It was Dragon’s second journey to space. After its first journey to space and its return to Earth, the capsule was repaired and then sent back for the second trip in space, carrying with it experimental equipment and other supplies to ISS. The mission marked a historic moment for SpaceX, making its capsule the first reused spacecraft by a private company.  Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft, Japan’s H-11 Transfer Vehicle, and Russia’s Progress craft all burn up in Earth’s atmosphere on their return to Earth.