NASA has confirmed that it will air the departure of the SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule from the ISS. The departure will occur on Tuesday, July 6, and the capsule splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, July 8. After the successful splashdown, SpaceX will have 22 commercial resupply services missions under its belt.
The capsule is leaving the ISS with approximately 5000 pounds of scientific experiments and other cargo on board. Live departure coverage will begin at 10:45 AM EDT on Tuesday, July 6, via NASA television, the NASA website, and the NASA app. Interestingly, NASA says it will not provide coverage of the splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX will initiate the departure of the capsule remotely from its facility in Hawthorne, California. Currently, Dragon is docked in the space-facing port on the ISS Harmony module. While coverage of the departure events begins at 10:45 AM EDT, the Dragon cargo module is scheduled to part the ISS at 11 AM. NASA says the capsule will physically separate from the ISS five minutes before it fires its thrusters to begin its journey back to earth.
Once the capsule is far enough away from the ISS for safety, it will fire its thrusters to begin its deorbit burn, leading to reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. NASA expects the spacecraft to splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean around midnight on Thursday, July 8. NASA says the capsule is splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean to enable a quicker return of the critical science experiments aboard the capsule.
Experiments will be recovered and taken to the NASA Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A shorter transportation timeframe is being used so researchers can collect data from the experiments with the least amount of exposure to gravity for those experiments as possible. The Dragon capsule launched on June 3 and delivered more than 7300 pounds of cargo.