Return of the Dragon

UPDATE:  The Dragon is home and all is well.

The SpaceX Dragon cargo-ship was scheduled to leave the International Space Station this morning after delivering 2,900 kg / 6,400 lbs of supplies about a month ago.

The departure was scheduled for 08:47 UT / 04:47 ET today (17 Sept 2017) at the end of the Canadarm2 by Expedition 53 Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) with the assistance of station Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA.

Dragon’s thrusters will be fired to move the spacecraft a safe distance from the station before SpaceX flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, command its deorbit burn. The spacecraft will splash down at about 14:16 UT 10:16 ET in the Pacific Ocean, where recovery forces will retrieve Dragon and approximately 3,800 pounds of cargo. This will include science samples from human and animal research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities. The deorbit burn and splashdown will not be broadcast on NASA TV.

NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station, will receive time-sensitive samples and begin working with researchers to process and distribute them within 48 hours of splashdown.

In the event of adverse weather conditions in the Pacific, the backup departure and splashdown date is Sept. 20.

With any luck we might get video of the re-entry.

Image: NASA

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