SpaceX Dragon on its way home

2012-05-31 13:08
The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is grappled by the Canadarm2 robotic arm at the International Space Station. (Nasa, AP)

The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is grappled by the Canadarm2 robotic arm at the International Space Station. (Nasa, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - US company SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule was successfully detached from the International Space Station early on Thursday at the start of its return to Earth after a landmark mission, Nasa said.

"Dragon has officially been demated from the International Space Station. The crew has removed all of the bolts and lashes," a spokesperson said on Nasa TV.

The cargo vessel will now be guided away from the orbiting research outpost by a robotic arm, which released it into space, and powerful thrusters will took over to send it back to Earth.

It should then trace a fiery path through the atmosphere before splashing down intact in the Pacific Ocean off California at 14:44 GMT, completing a mission heralded as a major step toward the commercialisation of spaceflight.

The cargo ship was launched on 22 May with 521kg of gear for the space lab, including food, supplies, computers, utilities and science experiments. It plans to return a 660kg load to Earth.

On 25 May, the Dragon became the first privately owned spacecraft to berth with the ISS.

If Thursday's re-entry succeeds, Dragon will be the only cargo capsule capable of return shipments to Earth, as the cargo craft operated by other countries are destroyed after making deliveries to the station, Nasa said.

The US retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011, leaving cargo missions up to the space agencies of Russia, Japan and Europe.

Until private US ventures come up with a replacement vehicle that can carry humans to the $100bn orbiting lab, the world's astronauts must rely on Russia's Soyuz capsules, at $63m a ticket.

SpaceX, owned by billionaire internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, says it aims to begin taking people to the space station by 2015.
Read more on:    spacex  |  space

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.