SpaceX Dragon capsule splashes down in Pacific Ocean

Crew members of Expedition 31 aboard the International Space Station (ISS) unberthed the SpaceX Dragon capsule from the orbiting complex’s Harmony module early this morning.

Dragon had spent 5 days, 16 hours and 5 minutes berthed to the orbiting station, while astronauts unloaded 1,200 pounds of cargo, including commemorative patches and pins, 162 meals and a collection of student experiments.

Most of the cargo’s weight, 674 pounds, was in food and crew provisions, such as meals, crew clothing and batteries and other pantry items.

ISS crew subsequently loaded Dragon with approximately 1,300 pounds of science experiments, hardware and cargo for a return trip  to earth. 

Following its unberthing from the ISS, the capsule initiated a series of departure burns and maneuvers to move beyond the 656-foot (200-meter) “keep out sphere” around the station and began its return trip to Earth.

A 9-minute, 50-second deorbit burn was initiated at 10:51 a.m. EDT to decelerate Dragon, which splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 11:42 a.m. EDT a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico. 

The splashdown marks a successful end to the first mission by a commercial company to resupply the International Space Station (ISS).