SpaceX Dragon freighter returns to Earth from space station

A SpaceX Dragon freighter returned to Earth with an ocean splash Saturday (August 20) carrying tons of scientific equipment from the International Space Station.

The uncrewed Dragon space capsule crashed off the coast of Florida at 2:53 p.m. EDT (1953 GMT) after just over a month on the space station.

“Splashdown of Dragon confirmed, completing SpaceX’s 25th cargo resupply mission to the space station,” SpaceX wrote in a mission update on Twitter (opens in a new tab) today. The company did not provide live views or images of the spacecraft splashdown.

“Once Dragon has been recovered by SpaceX’s recovery team, critical science aboard the spacecraft will be airlifted by helicopter to [NASA’s Kennedy Space Center] and provided to researchers”, the company added (opens in a new tab) in a second Twitter post.

SpaceX launched Dragon’s SpaceX-25 mission from KSC on July 14, with the spacecraft arriving at the station two days later. It delivered 5,800 pounds (2,630 kilograms) of science experiments, crew supplies, and other essential cargo to the station.

The Dragon spacecraft undocked from the space station on Friday, preparing to return to Earth on Saturday with about 4,000 pounds (1,815 kg) of science equipment. This shipment included the results of a myriad of experiments on the station which will be delivered to enthusiastic scientists.

SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon capsules are unmanned versions of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and designed to ferry supplies to and from the International Space Station under a multi-billion dollar contract with NASA. SpaceX is one of two US companies currently performing resupply missions to the station (Northrop Grumman is the other with the Cygnus spacecraft) with Sierra Nevada Space Systems also tapped to provide similar services to NASA with its spaceplane Dream Chaser planned.

The Russian Progress robotic spacecraft also flies regular cargo delivery missions, with the European Space Agency and Japan also flying their own cargo ships in the past.

The space station is currently home to seven astronauts who make up the crew of Expedition 67. The crew includes three Americans, three Russians and one European. SpaceX launched four of these astronauts on a Crew Dragon as part of its Crew-4 mission for NASA.

SpaceX will launch NASA’s next crew to the space station, called Crew-5, in September.

Email Tariq Malik at [email protected] or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and instagram.

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