At 4:40 a.m. EDT, Expedition 53 Flight Engineer Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and International Space Station Commander Randy Bresnik used the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the SpaceX Dragon after it was detached from the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module.
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 capsule will splash down at about 10:14 a.m. in the Pacific Ocean, where recovery forces will retrieve the capsule and its more than 3,800 pounds of cargo and research. A variety of technological and biological studies are returning in Dragon. Splashdown will not be broadcast on NASA TV.
NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the non-profit 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.
Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, launched to the space station Aug. 14 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station Aug. 16 carrying more than 6,400 pounds of supplies and cargo on SpaceX’s twelfth commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA.
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