CRS-12 Dragon Returns to Earth

After 30 days in space Dragon CRS-12 robotic cargo spacecraft undocked from Harmony module nadir docking port.

SpaceX Dragon CRS-12 was launched on the top of the Falcon-9 rocket from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center on August 14, 2017, at 18:31 UTC. After lasting two days space chase it reached and docked to ISS harmony nadir docking port on August 16. It delivered 2349 kg of cargo in pressurized section and 961 kg in not pressurized trunk. In spite of food, water and supplies for crew members it also delivered Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass Experiment scientific device for measuring space radiation. CREAM was installed at EFU-2 slot on August 23 by robotic arm.

Preparations before planned for today's undocking of the Dragon had started last week with packing Dragon capsule with scientific equipment and trunk of the spacecraft with trash and unwanted hardware. Last night Dragon was remotely released from Harmony and moved 10 m away from ISS with the utilization of Candarm2 robotic arm. This was done by flight specialists remotely from the ground control station.

Next phase of undocking, releasing Dragon from Canadarm2 was controlled by astronauts Paolo Nespoli (ESA-ASI) and Randy Bresnik (NASA) from Cupola module. Final "go" for Nespoli and Bresnik was given by Houston control center at 08:36 UTC. After receiving command, paolo Nespoli released Dragon at 08:40 UTC 402 km over Australia. After reaching 3 m distance from Canadarm2, Dragon performed first from three planned departure burns at 08:45 UTC. One minute later second burn was also finished and Dragon performed third burn after yaw maneuver (08:50 UTC) and exit 200 m safety zone around the Station.

Next phase begun with closing and securing doors between capsule and service module. When Dragon was passing over Indian Ocean, Dragon started its thrusters for ten minutes to reduce speed at 13:41 UTC. From that moment reentry phase begun. Spacecraft jettisoned its trunk seven minutes later. At 14:07 first two drag parachutes were deployed and at 16:15 UTC three main parachutes were deployed. Dragon reduced its speed to 17 km/h and gently touched waters of the pacific Ocean at 14:17 UTC.

Vehicle will be recovered by SpaceX ship and transported to Los Angeles. most important scientific samples will be transported by helicopter directly from ship to laboratories just after opening capsule on the ship.

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