SpaceX Dragon returns to Earth with 1,630 kg of scientific equipment

On the same day that Virgin Galactic sent the first space tourists to the border with space aboard the VSS Unity spaceplane, 300 kilometers above, SpaceX’s robotic Dragon cargo capsule left the International Space Station (ISS) and began its journey back to Earth. 

SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. Illustration: SpaceX

On June 29, at 07:30 p.m. GMT+3, the Dragon spacecraft undocked from the ISS over the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean to the west of Indonesia. Now the SpaceX capsule is returning to our planet. It will land by parachute off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, on June 30 at about 05:30 .p.m. GMT+3. There will be no online broadcast of the landing, as reported by NASA.

The Dragon cargo spacecraft was launched by a Falcon 9 rocket on June 5. It arrived at the International Space Station a day later, delivering 3,175 kg of supplies and scientific experiments for astronauts aboard the orbiting laboratory, as well as fresh fruit.

SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. Illustration: SpaceX

This cargo spacecraft mission was named CRS-28, as it was the 28th flight that SpaceX carried out as part of a series of contracts with NASA. In addition, the company has contracts to transport agency astronauts to the ISS and from the orbital outpost to Earth using a manned version of Dragon.

Dragon delivered various scientific experiments and equipment to CRS-28, including the fifth and sixth solar panels of the International Space Station Roll Out Solar Arrays (iROSA), which were installed by astronauts in mid-June. Additional panels will increase the power of the orbital space station by 30%.

According to NASA representatives, Dragon CRS-28 will return to Earth more than 1,630 kg of scientific equipment and supplies. Unlike Dragon, two other automated cargo spacecraft that currently deliver cargo to the ISS – the Russian Progress spacecraft and the private American Cygnus spacecraft – burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere after completing their missions.

Earlier we reported on how a stranger rode a SpaceX Dragon capsule on the water.

Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time