SpaceX Dragon Cargo Ship Returns To EarthBy: Ellisha Rader Mannering - May 19, 2014
The commercial cargo ship Dragon returned to earth on Sunday after stopping by the International Space Station to pick up over two tons of science experiments and equipment.
The cargo ship was loaded and prepped on Saturday and released by astronaut Steven Swanson on Sunday. Swanson used the space station’s giant robot arm to release the cargo ship and it only took it five hours to return to earth.
The Dragon is the only cargo ship that is capable of returning to earth.
Every other ship burns up during re-entry, but the Dragon was built to travel between Earth and the space station. There have been three other Dragon ships that have been used in other missions.
NASA tweeted about the release of the ship and anxiously awaited its return to Earth.
They also tweeted that the ship had made it safely back home.
SpaceX, the company that designed the Dragon cargo ship, also tweeted updates about the launch and return of the ship.
The California-based SpaceX and Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp have both created cargo ships capable of taking supplies to and from the International Space Station.
Orbital will make the next delivery in a month. Both companies are used by Russia, Japan and Europe as well. The companies hope to someday transport astronauts the same way they do cargo.
The supplies and experiments the Dragon brought back to earth will be examined by NASA scientists over the next few months.
What do you think of the Dragon cargo ships?
Image via YouTube