SpaceX Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Returns to Earth

SpaceX live stream: Watch the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft return to Earth LIVE online

The Dragon spacecraft of SpaceX's CRS-11 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) will return to Earth on July 3, 2017 (a one-day delay due to inclement weather in the Pacific Ocean landing zone).

Early Monday, astronaut Jack Fischer, operating the arm, released the cargo ship to fly on its own and about five hours later, the spacecraft fired its braking rockets and plunged back into the atmosphere, creating a blazing trail visible from the station. Important cargo will be returned to NASA for analysis and the spacecraft will be sent to SpaceX's test facility in McGregor, Texas. NASA TV will not provide coverage of the splashdown, which will occur in the Pacific 260 miles southwest of the California coast.

Last week a NASA blog said that pair of NASA astronauts were nearly finished packing the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship and were training for its departure.

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It said: "The astronauts are almost done loading Dragon with time-sensitive research samples and used station hardware for analysis on Earth by scientists and engineers". Hatches were sealed and the station's robot arm detached the Dragon from the Earth-facing port of the forward Harmony module on Sunday.

Dragon, the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact, will be retrieved by a SpaceX team from the ocean and shipped it to port in southern California.

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