SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to reach Earth on Monday

16 Janvier, 2019, 10:29 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft to reach Earth on Monday

USA cargo spacecraft Dragon left the International Space Station (ISS) after a month in the orbit and is expected to land in the Pacific later on Monday, the spacecraft's manufacturer SpaceX reported late on Sunday. Unfortunately, an anticipated January test flight has now been pushed back for unspecified reasons, and NASA now says that Crew Dragon won't life off until February at the earliest.

This will be the first night-time splashdown and recovery for the Dragon with plenty of moonlight to track its entry, NASA said. Integrated operations between mission controllers in Houston and SpaceX controllers in California stop when Dragon reaches a point about 1 km away from the station.

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Both SpaceX and NASA are eager to get the Dragon cargo spacecraft back to Earth now that it has fulfilled its duties in bringing much-needed supplies to the crew aboard the International Space Station.

The Dragon delivered almost 3 tons of food, supplies and experiments to the station on December 8, and it took more than four weeks to unload the cargo and reload the Dragon with payloads for the return trip. "Dragon's hatch will be closed Sunday morning, and the spacecraft will be detached from the Harmony module around 3 p.m. EST Sunday". The Commercial Crew Program's first launch is now targeted for February and will demonstrate ground systems, orbit to docking activities and landing operations.

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