Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dragon is Home From First ISS Visit

The Space Explorations Technologies (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft has safely splashed down about 560 miles to the west of Baja, California. Splashdown time was 11:42 AM EDT / 8:42 AM PDT. The reported coordinates were Latitude 27 degrees North, Longitude 120 degrees West, inside the planned landing area. A NASA aircraft was overhead to provide infrared imagery of Dragon's return, and recovery vessels were nearby, ready to collect the spacecraft after spashdown.

It is expecte that in approximately two days the recovery vessels will make port in Long Beach, California, where more time-sensitive items will be removed from Dragon and turned over to NASA. Following that, the spacecraft will proceed to SpaceX facilities in McGregor, Texas where SpaceX and NASA teams will "safe" the spacecraft (bleeding off the maneuvering thruster propellants, etc.) and then complete the unloading of the equipment and materials from the International Space Station (ISS).

This is the first of 12 ISS cargo missions that SpaceX has contracted for NASA through 2015, a contract totaling $1.6 billion. SpaceX has hope of expanding their ISS support role to include the transport of crew members. For more on SpaceX, visit their home page: http://www.spacex.com/

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit the following URL: www.nasa.gov/station

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