Watch SpaceX Dragon cargo ship depart space station today (Image Credit: Space.com)
A robotic SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule will return to Earth today (April 15), and you can watch the action live.
You can watch the departure live here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA, or directly via the space agency (opens in new tab). Coverage is expected to begin at 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT).
Dragon will make a soft, parachute-aided ocean landing off the Florida coast “several hours” after undocking, according to a NASA blog post (opens in new tab). You’ll be able to watch the splashdown live here at Space.com as well.
Related: Facts about SpaceX’s Dragon capsule
The Dragon carried up about 6,300 pounds (2,860 kilograms) of supplies on its mission, which is known as CRS-27. (CRS stands for “commercial resupply services.”) The cargo included a variety of hardware, 60 different scientific experiments and some gustatory treats for the ISS astronauts.
“The crews requested some fresh fruit and refrigerated cheeses,” Phil Dempsey, NASA’s International Space Station Program transportation integration manager, said during a CRS-27 prelaunch press conference on March 13. “So on board are apples, blueberries, grapefruit, oranges [and] cherry tomatoes, as well as a few different cheeses.”
The CRS-27 Dragon will carry about 4,300 pounds (1,950 kg) of “experiment hardware and research samples” down to Earth with it today, according to the NASA blog post.
This is a unique capability of the SpaceX capsule. The other two robotic cargo craft that currently service the ISS — Russia’s Progress vehicle and Northop Grumman’s Cygnus — are designed to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere when their time in orbit is up.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).