back to article Billionaire's pet DRAGON SPLASHES DOWN off Pacific Coast

The "Dragon" private space podule - which delivered cargo to the International Space Station - has returned to Earth five weeks after its mission began. SpaceX's Dragon capsule was expected to splash down in the Pacific Ocean, around 265 miles west of the Baja peninsula, within the next hour. ISS 'naut Reid Wiseman tweeted …

  1. Andus McCoatover


    'Suppose the ISS arm just gave it a gentle push.

    Impressive! Awaiting news of the recovery.

    At one point in the video, it seemed like internal lights came on. For a brief second, wondered if it was carrying Felix Baumgartner, wanting his record back after one of Google's 'top bananas' scotched it...

    1. Tsunamijuan

      Re: Neat!

      I think you might of been seeing some of the Maneuvering thrusters as they fired. You can notice them at several points firing as it starts increasing its distance from the arm. Mostly by a brief flash of light to the side of the main hatch.

      Though That would be a great test for SpaceX, as a potential step towards full manned flight. I would imagine that would also be a good way to test their readiness for a space walk.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Neat!

      near the end of the video you see the nav/collision avoidance lights come on (green, right next to the root of the solar panel) The flashing light right above the main hatch is probably a maneuvering thruster (the pulses seem to be too irregular for it to be one of the strobe lights) as pointed out by Tsunamijuan

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Neat!

        Actually the green light is telling the ISS crew that the propulsion system is armed & ready.

  2. JassMan Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Probably a question for

    Does anyone know how non-gently they need to push to ensure the ISS doesn't need to boost in order to maintain orbit? Would the arm be strong enough?

    Perhaps they can now print a big spring catapult on the ISS axis in order to remove the chance of any induced spin. Seems like a win-win to me as the Dragon doesn't need so much of a braking burn to return dirt-side.

    1. Vulch

      Re: Probably a question for

      They don't push at all, just move it out and let go. The attitude at release is carefully worked out so the Dragon can fire thrusters without the plumes hitting the station.

      1. David Given

        Re: Probably a question for

        They use tidal forces --- the station's big enough that the Dragon is nowhere near its centre of gravity, but is being carried along in the same orbit as the station because it's physically attached. This means that when they let go it'll naturally follow a non-trivially different orbit. The result, seen from the station's perspective, is that the Dragon will slowly fall away.

        They use this effect when undocking to get vehicles far enough away from the station that they can safely use their thrusters. They also use it when docking --- it mean you get a natural braking force for approaching vehicles (along a particular vector), which is dead handy as it means you don't need to fire your thrusters towards the station.

        Physics is awesome; and you can simulate this in Kerbal Space Program if you want to try it for yourself. Just make sure your two vehicles are lined up along a planetary radius.

  3. Anonymous John

    1941 GMT (3:41 p.m. EDT)

    Splashdown confirmed! The Dragon spacecraft has returned to Earth with nearly 3,300 pounds of space station cargo, ending its fourth operational flight to the complex.

    SpaceX says the splashdown occurred at approximately 3:38 p.m. EDT (1938 GMT)

    1358 GMT (9:58 a.m. EDT)

    The first departure burn is complete.

    1357 GMT (9:57 a.m. EDT)

    Astronaut Reid Wiseman has backed the robotic arm away to a distance of about 4 feet. The first of three rocket burns to guide Dragon away from the space station is coming up soon.

    1357 GMT (9:57 a.m. EDT)

  4. DocJames


    Good name for an astronaut.

    Shame he can't spell Sydney.

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Wiseman

      Yep, for an authentic Aussie feel he should have gone with "Sinny".

  5. Lars Silver badge

    Am I the first one

    Who cannot get any sound off of this. or is this something about the fox or did Linus say something or what the hell is going on. I do expect there to be sound, no matter how stupid, and no matter how stupid the video. Please.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Am I the first one

      That's because there isn't any sound. That particular stretch of NASA TV wasn't being talked over by PAO.

      > I do expect there to be sound, no matter how stupid, and no matter how stupid the video

      Not every single YouTube video has to have an '80s rock soundtrack slapped over it. Go smoke some more weed.

      1. Lars Silver badge

        Re: Am I the first one


      2. Dave Bell

        Re: Am I the first one

        The recommended soundtrack for all such manoeuvres is The Blue Danube

        It's already been done.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Am I the first one

      In space, nobody can hear your automated supply ship un-dock.

      I guess the original version was more poetic >>>>>>>

  6. Bassey

    Nice Photo

    That picture off Dragon under the ISS with Sydney in the background is extraordinary.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hasn't he seen the Andromeda Strain?

    They will keep messing up there!

  8. Martin Budden

    Where in the world is #Sidney ???

    1. MondoMan


      (Ace of Spies)


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