SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule returns to Earth from ISS

SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule has successfully returned to Earth from the International Space Station with some 3,000 pounds of equipment and experiments inside it.

SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule returns to Earth from ISS
Photo credit: NASA

New Delhi: SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule has successfully returned to Earth from the International Space Station with some 3,000 pounds of equipment and experiments inside it.

Dragon made a splashdown off the Pacific coast of Baja California at 10:15 pm Indian Standard Time (IST), Thursday.

SpaceX is NASA's only means of getting supplies to the 260-mile-high station ever since last year's loss of an Orbital Sciences craft in a Virginia launch explosion.

"The release has been confirmed, right on time at 6:04 am Central Time (1104 GMT)," a NASA commentator said as the US space agency broadcast images of the white capsule floating away from the space station`s robotic arm.

The cargo capsule has spent 34 days at the orbiting research complex after its launch on April 14 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, and berthing on April 17.

Recently, a Russian supply ship became uncontrollable after lift off and was destroyed upon re-entry earlier this month.

SpaceX is targeting to launch another shipment from the Cape at 8:30 pm on June 26.

The other US commercial space station supplier, Orbital, is temporarily out of commission after its Antares rocket exploded shortly after liftoff in October 2014, destroying the Cygnus cargo craft.

Orbital said an engine failure was to blame for the explosion, citing a flaw with the decades-old Ukrainian-designed AJ-26s, that were refurbished by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Russia`s space program has also suffered setbacks, including the recent loss of an unmanned Progress spacecraft meant to supply the ISS.

It lost contact with Earth, shortly after take-off on April 28, before disintegrating on re-entry less than two weeks later.

(With AFP inputs)

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