ForexTV NewsDesk | May 31 2012 11:41 EDT
ForexTV.com (New York) by Kyle Henry
After a historic five day dock with the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule detached, and began its descent to Earth early Thursday morning. ISS astronauts detached and guided Dragon to a 30 feet release point by means of the same robotic arm used to grab the capsule upon arrival. Dragon then initiated its thrusters extending the gap between it and the ISS.
Now out of range of joint control with NASA, Dragon is being directed entirely by SpaceX’s control center located in Hawthorne, California.
The capsule burned its thrusters for nearly ten minutes at 10:51 EDT starting the final phase of its return into the atmosphere. Dragon is expected for a pacific splash down approximately 560 miles west of Baja, California.
The mission has already been deemed a success by NASA and SpaceX completing all of its primary objectives, effectively berthing with the ISS and delivering around 1000lbs of cargo.
Upon its return, Dragon is carrying approximately 1400lbs of old equipment and research from the ISS. Due to the mission being a test flight NASA did not risk loading anything valuable, as safe return with cargo has not been tested.
A successful homecoming of Dragon will place the capsule in a unique group joined solely by Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft, with the ability to deliver and return cargo to and from the ISS, all other cargo ships burning up upon return.
The completion of this mission has allowed NASA to deter from supplying the ISS, and shift focus to the next step of space exploration, effectively getting astronauts to asteroids and Mars.
SpaceX’s $1.6 billion contract includes 12 cargo shipments to the ISS through 2016. The next mission is scheduled for September of this year.
Forex research by ForexTV.com