WASHINGTON, October 25 (RIA Novosti) – US cargo spacecraft, Dragon, has been released from the International Space Station (ISS) and is returning to Earth, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) reported Saturday.
"Departure confirmed. Dragon is free", the NASA flight control center announced.
The cargo spacecraft departed from the Earth-facing side of the station's Harmony module at GMT 13:57. According to estimated calculations, in six hours, approximately at 19:39 GMT, Dragon will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
The Dragon spacecraft, developed by SpaceX exploration technologies Corporation, was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on September 21. It delivered about 2.3 tons of supplies to the ISS, in support of 255 scientific investigations to be conducted by crew members.
Dragon, currently the only spacecraft capable of returning cargo from the ISS back to Earth, will bring back about 1.5 tons of science samples.
Prior to this, it was planned that the science samples would leave the ISS on October 21. But on Monday it became known that SpaceX postponed the departure due to weather conditions in the Pacific Ocean to the west of the Baja California peninsula.