SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft is on its way back to Earth, set to splashdown off Florida

SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft is on its way back to Earth, set to splashdown off Florida

SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station Tuesday morning and is set to splashdown off the coast of Florida Wednesday.

“The upgraded @SpaceX cargo Dragon successfully undocked from the @Space_Station at 9:05 am ET & is on its way back to Earth for splashdown on Jan. 13, west of Tampa off the coast of Florida,” tweeted NASA.

The undocking was originally scheduled for Monday but was postponed because of bad weather in the splashdown zone.

SPACEX’S CARGO DRAGON DEPARTURE FROM SPACE STATION POSTPONED BECAUSE OF WEATHER

SpaceX's Cargo Dragon spacecraft begins its undocking from the International Space Station.

SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft begins its undocking from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA TV)

The uncrewed spacecraft will take about 36 hours to return to Earth. “On Wednesday, Jan. 13, Dragon will conduct a deorbit burn at 7:37 p.m. to begin its re-entry sequence into Earth’s atmosphere,” said NASA, in a blog post. “Dragon is expected to splash down west of Tampa off the Florida coast about 8:27 p.m.”

“Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the science aboard the capsule to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station Processing Facility, delivering some science back into the hands of the researchers as soon as four to nine hours after splashdown,” NASA added. “This shorter transportation timeframe allows researchers to collect data with minimal loss of microgravity effects.”

The CRS-21 cargo craft launched to the International Space Station on Dec. 6, 2020, from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The cargo ship delivered over 6,400 pounds of hardware, research and crew supplies.

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Last week, Northrop Grumman’s uncrewed Cygnus spacecraft departed the space station. Cygnus will remain in orbit until Jan. 26, testing new technologies before its fiery destruction on reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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