Dragon Set for Tuesday Departure, Science and Cargo Transfers for Crew
The Expedition 35 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station Monday were busy with final preparations for the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft set for Tuesday morning. They also worked with science and transferred cargo.
The departure of Dragon from the space station begins at 4:05 a.m. EDT Tuesday, with release scheduled for 6:56 a.m. Dragon will conduct a series of engine burns to take it away from the space station with the third and final departure burn taking place around 7:06 a.m. NASA TV coverage begins at 4 a.m.
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Dragon’s deorbit burn will take place approximately 11:42 a.m. with splashdown scheduled for 12:34 p.m. about 246 miles off the coast of Baja California. Dragon will take about 30 hours to return to port, at which point several critical science samples will be handed over to NASA for a return trip back to Houston that day.
Dragon's return date, originally scheduled for March 25, was postponed due to inclement weather developing near its targeted splashdown site in the Pacific Ocean. The additional day spent attached to the orbiting laboratory will not affect science samples scheduled to return aboard the spacecraft.
Aboard the station Tuesday, Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko closed the hatch between the station and the Dragon capsule and installed a control panel between Dragon and the Harmony node to prepare for the separation of the two spacecraft.
They also finished up some cargo transfer tasks, moving a GLACIER freezer filled with experiments and biological samples from one of the EXPRESS racks inside the station to the Dragon for return to Earth.
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Later, Romanenko spent some time in the in the Russian segment of the orbiting laboratory, monitoring its systems and performing maintenance tasks. He also transferred cargo between the station and the ISS Progress 50 cargo craft.
Meanwhile at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 35 Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov, Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin continued preparations for their launch to the station. The trio is set to launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft at 4:43 p.m. EDT Thursday for a docking to the Poisk module about six hours later.
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