SpaceX cargo Dragon undocks from ISS ahead of splashdown near Florida

An uncrewed cargo Dragon capsule successfully undocked from the International Space Station on Tuesday morning and is headed back to Earth for a splashdown off the Florida coast. 

The SpaceX capsule, which is loaded with 5,200 pounds of scientific experiments and other cargo, undocked from the ISS at 9:05 a.m. 

NASA says the Dragon is aiming for a splashdown January 13 in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa. The Atlantic had been targeted, but poor weather shifted the arrival to Florida’s other side. SpaceX’s supply ships previously parachuted into the Pacific.

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"Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the science aboard the capsule to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station Processing Facility, and back into the hands of the researchers," NASA said. 

Dragon launched Dec. 6 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, arriving at the station just over 24 hours later and achieving the first autonomous docking of a U.S. commercial cargo resupply spacecraft. It represented the company’s 21st resupply services mission for NASA. 

Previous arriving cargo Dragon spacecraft were captured and attached to the space station by astronauts operating the station’s robotic Canadarm2. The spacecraft delivered more than 6,400 pounds of hardware, research investigations, and crew supplies.

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