SpaceX Dragon returns from the Space Station tomorrow, its final splashdown will mark the end of an era -Watch It Live!

by Evelyn Arevalo April 06, 2020

SpaceX Dragon returns from the Space Station tomorrow, its final splashdown will mark the end of an era -Watch It Live!

Featured Image Source: SpaceX

After a decade in operation, SpaceX's original Dragon spacecraft will be retired. The company conducted the craft's final resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 6, it is the 20th mission under a Commercial Resupply Cargo Services (CRS-20) contract with NASA. The contract, which was signed in 2008, was valued at $1.6 billion. Dragon has been in operation since 2012, the company will replace the spacecraft with an upgraded version Dragon V2, also known as Crew Dragon. Throughout the years, SpaceX has successfully transported vital equipment and science research, including live animals and plants. Overall, the original Dragon spacecraft(s) conducted 20 cargo missions to space.



After a month-long stay at the orbiting laboratory, Dragon will return to Earth on Tuesday, April 7. carrying over 4,000 pounds of important scientific cargo. NASA TV will livestream Dragon's final departure from the International Space Station beginning at 8:45 a.m. EDT. tomorrow. The spacecraft will be released from the station's robotic arm at around 9:15 a.m. EDT. Robotic flight controllers from mission control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, will send commands to the space station's robotic Canadarm2 arm to release the Dragon capsule.

 

 

Astronaut Andrew Morgan, a flight engineer, will monitor the craft's release. Upon release, Dragon will depart from the station by using its thrusters to move away. Then, it will execute a deorbit burn to reenter Earth's atmosphere. NASA expects the craft to return from space at around 3:40 p.m. on Tuesday. When Dragon falls through our atmosphere, it will perform a parachute-assisted splashdown southwest of Long Beach, California, in the Pacific Ocean. 

Dragon's final splashdown will mark the end of an era. Elon Musk, founder and CEO at SpaceX, said last month:

"Hard to believe it's almost time to retire Dragon after a decade of solid service."

 

WATCH IT LIVE!


NASA TV will livestream Dragon's final departure from the International Space Station on April 7 beginning at 8:45 a.m. EDT. tomorrow.

The Dragon spacecraft has achieved many reusability milestones, each cargo craft is certified to fly 3 times. The craft that conducted the CRS-20 mission has executed 3 flights. It successfully performed SpaceX's previous CRS-10 and CRS-16 resupply missions to the ISS for NASA. During its time in operation, Dragon has spent over 520 days attached to the space station, SpaceX says it "delivered over 95,000 pounds of cargo, and returned over 76,000 pounds back to Earth." SpaceX's experience launching cargo reliably to ISS, has demonstrated the company is ready to launch humans to space. Dragon's successor, Crew Dragon, will launch NASA Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a journey to the space station for the first time in May. SpaceX will ignite a new era in American spaceflight!

 

 

 




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