ibusinesslines.com March 24, 2017

SpaceX reusable cargo ship returns to Earth

20 March 2017, 06:20 | Justin Tyler

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The Dragon's pressurized capsule weathered re-entry temperatures ranging up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, then unfurled its parachutes for the splashdown about 250 miles west of Baja California.

The trip began early today when astronauts used the station's robotic arm to pull the Dragon away from its port and position it for the automated descent.

The Dragon flew to the space station a month ago from the same Florida launch pad used for NASA's Apollo moon shots.

There, the processing and further unloading of scientific samples and returning station hardware will continue.

Dragon's journey home will be much shorter, however; it's slated to splash down in the Pacific Ocean at 10:54 a.m. EDT (1454 GMT) tomorrow, if everything goes according to plan.

Dragon returned to Earth with about 5,400 lbs.

Within 48 hours of splashdown, representatives from NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages research on the ISS, will have the time-sensitive research samples from the craft in hand for analysis, NASA officials said in a statement.

Unlike all the other cargo ships that serve the space station, the SpaceX Dragon capslue is not disposable.

The Optical PAyload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) device tested the potential for using a laser to transmit data to Earth from space, indicating that high speed space to ground optical communications are possible from a fast moving spacecraft. (2,450 kilograms) of space station gear.

A SpaceX reusable cargo ship splashed down in the Pacific Ocean safely on Sunday, ending a mission to supply astronauts on the International Space Station, the company said.

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