SpaceX's Dragon capsule cleared to return to Earth Monday

Published On: Mar 21 2013 01:50:48 PM EDT

International Space Station managers this morning gave a “go” for SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule to depart the outpost early Monday, Florida Today reports.

Station astronauts Tom Marshburn and Chris Hadfield plan to pull the Dragon from its docking port with a robotic arm at 5:05 a.m. EDT, then release it into space at 7:49 a.m.

Packed with 2,668 pounds of equipment and science experiments, the Dragon is expected to re-enter the atmosphere and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California at 1:19 p.m. EDT.

Recovery ships will return the spacecraft to Los Angeles, and it will then be transported to SpaceX’s facility in Texas.

The Dragon launched from Cape Canaveral atop a Falcon 9 rocket on March 1 and berthed at the station two days later.

The mission is SpaceX’s second of 12 planned under a $1.6 billion NASA resupply contract.

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