A SpaceX cargo ship that delivered upgraded solar arrays to the International Space Station last month departed the orbiting outpost Thursday to begin the trip back to Earth. Undocking occurred at 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT) Thursday, setting up for a re-entry and splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico Friday at 11:29 p.m. EDT (0329 GMT Saturday).
Two astronauts floated outside the International Space Station Wednesday and attached a rolled-up solar array, the first of six intended to boost the lab’s power back to factory fresh levels. But a spacesuit glitch and then an interference issue with the array mechanism prevented them from extending the new panel as planned.
United Launch Alliance’s next Atlas 5 launch will carry Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule into orbit July 30 on its second unpiloted test fight, officials confirmed Thursday. An Atlas 5 rocket for the U.S. military previously scheduled for June 23 has been postponed as engineers analyze unexpected vibrations of a new upper stage engine nozzle on a mission last month.
Wrapping up a two-day transit from a launch pad in Florida, a SpaceX Dragon capsule autonomously linked up with the International Space Station Saturday with more than 7,300 pounds of cargo, including new solar arrays, crew supplies, and experiments looking at how spaceflight affects the biology of tardigrades and baby squid.