Bad weather on Earth delays SpaceX Dragon’s return from space station

Rough weather in the Atlantic forced the delay.

Poor weather on Earth forced a SpaceX supply ship to wave off the opportunity to make the first successful autonomous undocking from the International Space Station on Monday (Jan. 11).

The upgraded Dragon cargo ship, hauling 5,200 lbs. (2,500 kilograms) of scientific experiments and other supplies, was supposed to depart the orbiting complex at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT).

NASA and SpaceX decided to abandon the attempt at 9:53 a.m. EST (1453 GMT) due to poor weather at the craft’s splashdown site in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Daytona, Fla. The two entities will decide later when to make the next undocking attempt, officials said on NASA TV, which broadcast the undocking attempt live. 

SpaceX’s upgraded Cargo Dragon capsule can carry 20% more cargo (and experiments) compared to its predecessor and can splash down in the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Pacific, making for a faster turnaround time on science since experiments can arrive at the nearby NASA Kennedy Space Center in as little as four hours. The new Dragon can also remain on station twice as long as previous cargo Dragon types, allowing for longer science investigations. More

By Elizabeth Howell

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