A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship was dispatched on Tuesday by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for splashdown in the Pacific Ocean amid the space company gearing up for its next rocket launch mission in Florida.
NASA mission commentator Kyle Herring said that the Dragon capsule was released by the ISA astronauts through a 58-foot (18-meter) robotic arm at 2:10 pm EST (1910 GMT) on Tuesday as the vehicles sailed 257 miles over Australia.
The Dragon cargo ship had arrived at the space station on January 12.
The gumdrop-shaped cargo space ship is carrying approximately 4,000 pounds of returning science equipments and experiments, which includes two defected components from spacesuits, back to the Earth.
The faulty spacesuit component will be closely analysed by the engineers before giving approval to the US astronauts for a trio of spacewalks later in February, according to the reports.
The parachute splashdown of SpaceX’s capsule in the largest Pacific Ocean is expected to take place at 4:44 pm PST (0044 GMT on Wednesday) at nearly 260 miles (418 km) southwest of Long Beach in California.
On the other front, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is preparing another launch in Florida. The company is going the blast off its next Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:05 pm EST (2305 GMT)
The rocket will be carrying a weather satellite of the US government that will keep a close watch at the sun and act as a weather buoy for providing about an hour’s warning of the solar storms that are potentially dangerous in nature as they can disrupt satellite signals, radio communications and power grids on the Earth.
The weather satellite, named the Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, will be placed in orbit around the sun by the Falcon rocket.
The satellite will also be monitoring the sun-lit side of the Earth in order to track the volcanic plumes, ozone depletion and also monitor natural calamities like droughts, fires and floods.
DSCOVR’s camera will be capturing pictures of the Earth in every two hours. The company said that these rare images will be sent back to the Earth via the Internet the next day.