NASA planned undocking from International Space Station SpaceX Dragon robotic spacecraft from resupply mission CRS-8 for 11th May 2016. Dragon will deliver scientific payload to Earth.
Launched on April 8, 2016, Dragon spacecraft docked to International Space Station on April 9, 2016. Dragon delivered during CRS-8 mission 3136 kg of payload: 640 kg of science materials and experiments, 547 kg of supplies, 306 kg of spare parts and hardware, 12 kg equipment necessary during EVA, 108 kg of IT equipment and Roscosmos payload of 33 kg. Among regular resupply in unpressurized section of Dragon new experimental inflatable BEAM module was delivered. Dragon docked to nadir port of Harmony module.
On May 5, 2016, NASA announced officially about return date of the CRS-8 Dragon. Spacecraft will be undocked on 11th May 2016 from Harmony module using Canadarm2 robotic arm. Arm will be operated by specialists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and Tim Peake (ESA) will be designated as robotic arm. He will send detaching command to Canadarm2 at 13:18 GMT. Dragon will use its thrusters three times (command for using thrusters will be send from SpaceX operational center) to reach safe distance from ISS and around 16:00 GMT it will start reentry burn. After reentry into atmosphere payload will be safe in pressurized capsule protected by thermal shields. It will go through dense parts of atmosphere and deploy two drag parachutes two release three main parachutes; next it will land in the Pacific Ocean at 16:55 GMT. In case of stormy weather on Pacific backup date for landing is 14th May 2016.
Dragon will deliver to Earth special cargo containing scientific experiments with biological material inside pressurized section. After touching waters of Pacific Ocean Dragon will be recovered by NASA team which will reach Dragon in three boats. Weighing 1600 kg scientific payload will be returned to laboratories. Dragon will bring to Earth various biological materials from Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and NASA experiments along with samples from one-year crew mission.
NASA live broadcast from undocking will be available on: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv
On picture above: Dragon CRS-8 seen from Cupola module where Canadarm2 is operated.