NASA and Space X have postponed the return of the Dragon capsule from the International Space Station. The Dragon cargo ship that was earlier scheduled to leave the space station on Wednesday, May 2, will now return on Saturday, May 5. Upon return, it will splash down in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Baja California, Mexico.
According to Gary Jordan, a spokesperson at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the decision to delay the Dragon capsule’s return was taken due to bad weather conditions at the capsule’s Pacific Ocean splashdown zone. He added that both NASA and SpaceX mission wanted to avoid any unnecessary risk, so, they decided to play it safe and delay the return of the cargo spacecraft to Earth from the ISS.
As per the new schedule, Dragon will now depart the International Space Station Saturday at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT) and splash down in the Pacific at about 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT).
The automated spacecraft will return with more than 4,000 pounds of cargo, technology gear and experiment samples including mice that have been living in habitats on the space station as well as frozen biological samples such as plants, insects, and human tissue. Scientists will study the mice to check how their bones and muscles responded to microgravity.
Dragon is also expected to return back with NASA’s Robonaut 2 robot on board. The Robonaut 2 robot, which was designed to help astronauts with their daily chores in space, reportedly suffered a malfunction in back 2014. It is being returned for analysis and repair.
After the Dragon capsule splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, it will be shipped to Long Beach where the U.S. space agency will take charge of the cargo. After recovering the cargo, the empty capsule will be sent back to SpaceX’s Texas facility.