WASHINGTON, June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After delivering about 6,000 pounds of cargo, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is set to leave the International Space Station on Sunday, July 2. NASA Television and the agency's website will provide live coverage of Dragon's departure beginning at 11:15 a.m. EDT.
Flight controllers will use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach the Dragon capsule, which arrived at the station June 5, from the Earth-facing side of the station's Harmony module. After they maneuver Dragon into place, Expedition 52 Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA will command release of the spacecraft at 11:38 a.m.
Dragon's thrusters will be fired to move the spacecraft a safe distance from the station before SpaceX flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, command its deorbit burn. The capsule will splash down about 5:16 p.m. in the Pacific Ocean. Deorbit burn and splashdown will not air on NASA TV.
Recovery forces will retrieve the capsule and its more than 4,100 pounds of returning cargo, including science samples from human and animal research, biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities. NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, the nonprofit organization that manages research aboard the U.S. national laboratory portion of the space station, will receive and process research samples, ensuring they are distributed to the appropriate facilities within 48 hours of splashdown.
In the event of adverse weather conditions in the Pacific, the backup departure date is Monday, July 3, with NASA TV coverage beginning at 2 a.m. and spacecraft release at 2:28 a.m.
Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, launched June 3 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, for the company's 11th NASA-contracted commercial resupply mission to the station.
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