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SpaceX Completes CRS-4 Mission for NASA

On Saturday October 25, Dragon splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, ending a month-long mission to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA. Dragon delivered nearly 5,000 pounds of cargo and science experiments to station, and returned with 3,276 pounds. Dragon is currently the only operational spacecraft capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth.Dragon launched aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday, September 21, reaching and berthing with station on Tuesday, September 23. More about Dragon’s journey to station here.

Astronauts spent about one month unpacking cargo and repacking the spacecraft with return cargo. On October 25, Dragon was removed from the Earth-facing Harmony node of the ISS by the station’s robotic Canadarm2, and released around 7:00am PDT. Dragon conducted three burns to maneuver away from station, followed by a deorbit burn later that morning. The image below is a representation of Dragon’s reentry burn.Dragon splashed down into the Pacific Ocean at approximately 12:38pm PDT, carrying 3,276 pounds of cargo and science samples.The spacecraft was loaded onto a boat by the SpaceX recovery team and transported back to land, where some cargo was removed and returned to NASA within 48 hours. Dragon was then transported to SpaceX’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.