SpaceX’s Dragon splashes down in the dark

SpaceX Dragon
SpaceX’s uncrewed Dragon cargo ship is released by the International Space Station’s robotic arm. (NASA Photo)

SpaceX’s robotic Dragon cargo ship splashed down in the Pacific Ocean tonight, bringing science experiments and used hardware from the International Space Station back to Earth after dark.

The Dragon delivered nearly 3 tons of food, supplies and experiments to the stationon Dec. 8, and it took more than four weeks to unload the cargo and reload the Dragon with payloads for the return trip. NASA delayed the Dragon’s descent by several days due to concerns about weather in the recovery area.

The station’s robotic arm released the Dragon at 3:33 p.m. PT, and the craft parachuted to its splashdown just before 9:15 p.m. SpaceX’s recovery ship headed to the scene to pull the Dragon out of the sea and bring it back to port in California.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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