After delivering almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, experiments and equipment - including a docking adapter for future American commercial crew spacecraft - a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is set to leave the International Space Station Friday.
SpaceX's Commercial Resupply Service-9 mission arrived on station July 20. The Dragon spacecraft will be detached from the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module using the station's Canadarm 2 robotic arm. Robotics controllers will send commands to maneuver the spacecraft into place before it's released by Expedition 48 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency at 6:10 a.m. EDT.
The spacecraft will move to a safe distance from the station and fire its engines at 10:56 a.m. EDT to drop out of orbit and descend back to Earth. A parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific is expected at 11:47 a.m. EDT about 326 miles west of Baja California.
A recovery team will retrieve the capsule and about 3,000 pounds of cargo and experiments for researchers and investigators.
In the event of adverse weather conditions in the Pacific, the backup departure and splashdown date is Sunday.