Nearly four weeks after its arrival at the International Space Station, a SpaceX Dragon supply ship departed the research lab Saturday and dropped out of orbit for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean southwest of Los Angeles. The Dragon capsule was released from the station’s robotic arm at 4:58 a.m. EST (0958 GMT), and splashdown occurred at approximately 10:36 a.m. EST (1536 GMT).
United Launch Alliance kicked off its 2018 launch campaign with a Delta 4 rocket flight at 2:11 p.m. PST (5:11 p.m. EST; 2211 GMT) Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Gusty winds forced officials to call off a launch attempt Wednesday, and technical problems halted a countdown Thursday multiple times. The Delta 4 launched with a top secret spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.
Outgoing space station commander Randy Bresnik, joined by Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy and European Space Agency flight engineer Paolo Nespoli, returned to Earth early Thursday after nearly five months in orbit. Their Soyuz MS-05 capsule undocked from the International Space Station at 12:14 a.m. EST (0514 GMT), and landed on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 3:37 a.m. EST (0837 GMT).
Four European navigation satellites fastened on top of an Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana, at 1836:07 GMT (1:36:07 p.m. EST) Tuesday to propel the Galileo navigation network closer to global service. The Ariane 5’s upper stage delivered the spacecraft to a circular orbit more than 14,000 miles above Earth around four hours after launch.