A SpaceX Dragon freighter returned to Earth Saturday (Aug. 20) with an ocean splash carrying tons of scientific equipment from the International Space Station.
The unmanned Dragon space capsule crashed in time off the coast of Florida at 2:53 p.m. EDT (1953 GMT) after just over a month in the space station.
“Splashdown of Dragon confirmed, completion of SpaceX’s 25th resupply mission to the space station,” SpaceX wrote in a mission update. Twitter (opens in new tab) Today. The company has not provided any live footage or footage of the spacecraft landing.
Once Dragon is retrieved by SpaceX’s recovery team, critical science will be transported aboard the spacecraft by helicopter to [NASA’s Kennedy Space Center] and provided to researchers,” the company says added (opens in new tab) in a second Twitter post.
SpaceX launched the Dragon’s SpaceX-25 mission from KSC on July 14, and the spacecraft arrived at the station two days later. It delivered 5,800 pounds (2,630 kilograms) of science experiments, crew supplies and other critical cargo to the station.
On Friday, the Dragon spacecraft disengaged from the space station and embarked on its return to Earth on Saturday with about 4,000 pounds (1,815 kg) of science equipment. That payload included the results of a large number of experiments at the station that will be delivered to enthusiastic scientists.
SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon capsules are unmanned versions of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and designed to carry supplies to and from the International Space Station under a multi-billion dollar contract with NASA. SpaceX is one of two US companies currently flying resupply missions to the station (Northrop Grumman is the other with the Cygnus spacecraft) with Sierra Nevada Space Systems also tapped to provide similar services to NASA with its planned Dream Chaser spaceplane.
Russia’s robotic Progress spacecraft also makes regular cargo delivery missions, with the European Space Agency and Japan also flying their own cargo ships in the past.
The space station is currently home to seven astronauts who are part of the Expedition 67 crew. The crew consists of three Americans, three Russians and one European. SpaceX launched four of those astronauts on a Crew Dragon as part of its Crew-4 mission for NASA.
SpaceX will launch NASA’s next crew to the space station, called Crew-5, in September.