News24

Dragon leaves ISS

2012-10-28 17:43

Washington - The private US spacecraft Dragon left the International Space Station (ISS) Sunday, after delivering 400kg of supplies and science experiments to the orbiting laboratory, space agency Nasa said.

The unmanned cargo vessel, owned by the California-based company SpaceX, arrived at the ISS after a two-day journey on October 10.

US astronaut Commander Sunita Williams and her Japanese counterpart Akihiko Hoshide used the station's robotic arm to detach Dragon for its journey home. It is splash down in the Pacific Ocean later on Sunday.

Dragon is the only craft now capable of bringing materials back to Earth from the ISS and is carrying home some 760kg of supplies, research and vehicle hardware.

The visit was first of a planned 12 deliveries to the station under a $1.6bn contract with Nasa.

Since Nasa retired the ageing space shuttles in 2011, the US has had to depend on Russia to get its astronauts and cargo to the ISS. The European and Japanese space agencies are also able to deliver cargo.

SpaceX's Dragon became the first private spacecraft to have docked at the International Space Station during a test flight in May.