SpaceX Dragon capsule returns to Earth, wraps up space station resupply mission

NASA/Ben Smegelsky
The Dragon capsule being prepared before launch.

Over three weeks ago, NASA and SpaceX sent a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station as part of a resupply mission. On Tuesday, the mission came to an end with the craft splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

According to NASA, the Dragon craft undocked from the International Space Station at 4:10am EDT (1:10am Pacific), and the ISS's Canadarm2 robotic arm released the craft a few minutes before 7am Eastern. The unmanned craft splashed down on Earth at 12:34pm Eastern (9:34am Pacific).

This mission was the second of 12 Space Station resupply missions that SpaceX will carry out on NASA's behalf. It delivered 1200 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station, and carried 2600 pounds of equipment from the ISS back to Earth on its return trip.

What's next? Recovering the craft. NASA says that it'll take 30 hours for a SpaceX crew to recover the Dragon craft from off the Baja California coastline. From there, it'll be time to prepare for the next SpaceX resupply mission, which will take place in late September.

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