Dragon started its journey to Earth !

SpaceX Dragon CRS-8 started its return to Earth with biological material from science experiments performed in International Space Station.

Another mission performed under CRS program reaches the end. Dragon robotic spacecraft was undocked today using Canadarm2 successfully from International Space Station; operation was performed without any involvement of Tim Peake (ESA) which was designated as Canadarm2 operator and remained with his backup operator Jeff Williams (NASA) in Cupola module. Operators in NASA’s Johnson Space Center undocked Dragon from nadir berthing port of Harmony module after Tim Kopra unlocked berthing mechanism at 09:02 GMT; next, operators moved arm with Dragon to designated position for detach, about 10 m from ISS, towards to Earth. At 13:01 GMT International Space Station flight on altitude of 418 km over South East Africa. At 13:18 GMT window for detaching Dragon was opened for 15 minutes. Dragon was released by Tim Peake at 13:19 GMT after orbital sunset, 418 km over Australia. Dragon first burn was performed four minutes after detaching Canadarm2 at 13:23 GMT; second burn was performed two minutes later. Third burn was started 150 m from ISS at 13:32 GMT and Dragon exit approach ellipsoid and started its journey to Earth.

Dragon remains in space for three orbits and will start to burn its engines for speed reducing and deorbiting at 18:01 GMT. Separation of service module with unpressurized part of cargo space from pressurized return capsule will be performed on 18:18 GMT. First drag parachutes will be deployed on 18:47 GMT. Landing on Pacific Ocean, 419 km from Long Beach, CA, is planned for 18:55 GMT. Capsule will be transported to Long Beach to deliver samples in time under 25 hours. Dragon capsule will be transported for further testing to SpaceX facility in McGregor, Texas.