Dragon Returns Home, Soyuz Rolled to Launch Pad in Kazakhstan
The Expedition 35 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station were busy with SpaceX Dragon undocking operations Tuesday, and also performed science experiments and post-undocking clean up duties.
After spending 23 days attached to the station and delivering about 1,268 pounds of supplies to support continuing space station research experiments, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft completed its stay at the station and has returned to Earth.
Dragon was unberthed from the Harmony node using the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm and released to begin its journey back home at 6:56 a.m. EDT. Dragon then fired its engines for the last time to send it through the Earth’s atmosphere for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. A team of SpaceX engineers, technicians and divers worked on spacecraft recovery operations off the coast of Baja, Calif., for Dragon’s journey back to shore.
› Listen to Tom Marshburn's comments after Dragon's departure
› Read more about Dragon's departure and landing
Aboard the station, Commander Chris Hadfield and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn wrapped up their work to prepare for the spacecraft’s unberthing, and were at the controls of Canadarm2 during Dragon’s departure operations.
After its departure, Hadfield and Marshburn focused on stowing all the equipment and tools used during the departure operations, reconfiguring the station’s systems as required.
Later, Marshburn participated in the Energy experiment, which observes the negative energy balance crew members experience in space and explores exercise as a countermeasure.
› Read more about Energy
Hadfield had some time set aside to participate in an in-flight interview with Société Radio-Canada in Montreal, answering questions about life aboard the station and some of the research he is conducting.
Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko worked in the in the Russian segment of the orbiting laboratory, monitoring its systems and performing maintenance tasks.
Meanwhile at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz rocket carrying the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft that will carry Expedition 35 Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov, Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin to the station was rolled out to the launch pad by train on Tuesday. The trio is set to launch at 4:43 p.m. EDT Thursday for a docking to the Poisk module about six hours later.
› Watch the Soyuz roll out video
› Read more about Expedition 35