Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dragon spacecraft returns

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully completed the company's second cargo flight to the International Space Station with a 12:36 p.m. EDT splashdown Tuesday in the Pacific Ocean a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico. The capsule will be returned to the SpaceX test facility in McGregor, Texas. Some cargo will be removed at the port in California and returned to NASA within 48 hours. This includes a freezer packed with research samples collected in the space station's unique microgravity environment. The remainder of the cargo will be returned to Texas with the capsule. The spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 1, carrying about 1,268 pounds of supplies and investigations. It returned about 2,668 pounds of science samples, equipment and education activities. (Source: NASA, 03/26/13) Previous Gulf Coast note: NASA's Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi, in addition to testing rocket engines for NASA, tests rocket engines for some commercial space companies. Lockheed Martin will assemble the composite structures for Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Previous Michoud is also involved in NASA's Space Launch System project.