NEW YORK, August 26. /TASS/. US SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule, which in July delivered food and equipment to the International Space Station (ISS), has been separated from the orbital complex and is now on the way back to Earth, NASA officials said.
NASA’s astronaut Kathleen Rubins and Japanese researcher Takuya Onishi on commands from Mission Control at Houston, Texas separated Dragon from the Harmony docking unit with the remote manipulator system Canadarm. The operation was completed at 06:11 Eastern Time (13:11 Moscow time).
The capsule was moved away from the ISS to a safe distance. Its engines are to be turned on at 10:56 Eastern Time (17:56 Moscow time) to send it into a descent path.
A short while later Dragon will enter the atmosphere, eject a parachute and splash down in the Pacific some 520 kilometers off the coast of Mexico.
SpaceX company launched Dragon on July 18 with a Falcon 9 rocket from a US Air Force base near Cape Canaveral, Florida. The capsule brought to the ISS about 2.5 tonnes of cargoes, including food, research instruments and a new multi-functional unit that will be used for future dockings of spacecraft with the ISS. The unit was installed on the US segment of the ISS on August 19.
The space shipper will bring to Earth about 1.36 tonnes of cargoes, including research equipment. Dragon is the world’s only reusable cargo spacecraft.