Dragon Set Free for Splashdown and Recovery in Pacific

Dragon Released from Station
Samantha Cristoforetti commanded the Canadarm2 to release the SpaceX Dragon from its grip. Credit: NASA TV

The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm at 2:10 p.m. EST. The capsule was maneuvered outside the vicinity of the space station in preparation for its return trip to Earth. The capsule is currently scheduled to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at about 7:44 p.m., 259 miles southwest of Long Beach, California.

Robotics controllers on the ground removed the SpaceX Dragon from the Harmony node Tuesday morning after they finished packing it full of critical research and gear Monday. Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, backed up by Flight Engineer Terry Virts, commanded the Canadarm2 to release Dragon.

Cristoforetti also worked on orbital plumbing during the day before heading to the cupola for the release. Earlier, Commander Butch Wilmore and Virts demated the jumper cables and depressurized the vestibule which is the interface between Harmony and Dragon. The NASA astronauts also had time set aside to organize tools ahead of three spacewalks to install cables the first of which is set to begin Feb. 20.

The cosmonauts continued their work conducting Russian science and stowing trash and gear inside the ISS Progress 57 (57P) resupply ship.

3 thoughts on “Dragon Set Free for Splashdown and Recovery in Pacific”

  1. Hello!

    I saw the ISS from Leeds UK just after 6:30pm GMT. Whilst wondering if it was in fact the ISS I could see, I caught a very brief flash of light right next to it, which I thought could’ve been an aviation light from an aircraft (I was still deciding if it was the ISS as I wasn’t looking out specifically for it going over, I just happened to see the tell-tale slow bright moving object) but it didn’t flash again. Could this have been a brief glimpse of the Dragon capsule? or would it have long since moved far away from the ISS.

    Many thanks,

    1. Difference between EST and GMT is currently 5 hours so Dragon would not have been released at 6:30 PM GMT aka 1:30 PM EST.

  2. Fantastic pictures, keep them coming. Question, sometime in the future will we be able to assemble a spacecraft out in space similar to the way the space station was constructed, capable of deep space exploration? The advantages of not having gravity must be appealing!

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