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SpaceX's Dragon capsule set to return to Earth

It's ultimately a busy Tuesday for SpaceX as the company gets ready for for the launch as well as landing of its spacecraft at the same time.

By Salome Phelamei | Updated: Feb 10, 2015, 18:30 PM IST
SpaceX's Dragon capsule set to return to Earth

Cape Canaveral: It's ultimately a busy Tuesday for SpaceX as the company gets ready for for the launch as well as landing of its spacecraft at the same time.

SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule is heading back to Earth from the International Space Station. Dragon is due to make a splashdown off the Pacific coast of Baja California at 7:44 pm EST Tuesday.

Also, the company's Facon 9 rocket, which was earlier planned to launch on Sunday but was called off due to a radar glitch, is now scheduled to lift off at 6:05 pm EST Tuesday.

The rocket carries the Deep Space Climate Observatory, nicknamed DSCOVR, a partnership of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Tuesday will be a busy day, but SpaceX has planned and prepared for this scenario,” spokesman John Taylor was quoted as saying.

“We have separate operations and recovery teams on both coasts, so we are equipped to handle both events simultaneously,” he added.

Dragon, which was launched on January 10 atop a Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle, is returning to Earth with nearly 3,700 pounds of cargo. Dragon will be unberthed from the Harmony module then released from the grips of the Canadarm2 Tuesday afternoon, said NASA on its website.

The spacecraft's departure will end a 29-day stay at the space station where it arrived January 12 loaded with supplies and experiments.

Photo credit: NASA