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NASA's cargo spacecraft back down to earth with heavy payload

Xinhua,January 14, 2018 Adjust font size:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean about 10:37 a.m. EST on Saturday west of Baja California, according to SpaceX's official Twitter.

It carried approximately 4,100 pounds of NASA cargo, science and technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft departed from the ISS at 4:58 a.m., after they used the robotic Canadarm2 to detach Dragon from the Harmony module of the orbiting lab.

After Dragon was released from ISS and its thrusters transported it a safe distance away from the station, SpaceX's flight controllers in Hawthorne, California, executed a deorbit burn command, blasting Dragon back into Earth' s atmosphere.

The Dragon spacecraft will be taken by ship to Long Beach, California, where some cargo will be removed immediately for return to NASA, and then it will be prepared for a return trip to SpaceX's test facility in McGregor, Texas, for final processing, according to NASA.

NASA said a variety of technological and biological studies had returned with Dragon.

Dragon is the only space station resupply spacecraft currently able to return cargo to Earth. The spacecraft lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida Dec. 15 carrying about 4,800 pounds of supplies and scientific cargo on the company's 13th commercial resupply mission to the station. It arrived at the station Dec. 17. Enditem