SpaceX Dragon Scheduled For Return Today

The SpaceX Dragon, the commercial spacecraft built by Hawthorne-based SpaceX, is set to splash down in the Pacific this morning at 8:44 a.m. PT, after a successful detachment from the International Space Station earlier this morning. According to NASA, the Dragon detached from the ISS at 2:49 a.m. PT, and is now scheduled to splash down in the Pacific in the next few hours, somewhere west of Baja, California. SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, said that the Dragon is now packed with 1,455 pounds of cargo for return to earth. The Dragon and its fellow Falcon 9 rocket have already made history by successfully launching and docking with the ISS, and--if successful--a return of the Dragon capsule will also give NASA the ability to again return significant amounts of cargo back to Earth, something it lost with the retirement of the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA's use of cargo vehicles from Russia, Japan, and the European Space Agency are all one-way trips, where those vehicles are destroyed as they return to earth. (Photo: SpaceX, the retrieval of the Dragon's prior test flight).