SpaceX's upgraded Dragon cargo undocks from ISS, heading for splashdown

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The SpaceX's upgraded Dragon cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) and is on its way back for a splashdown scheduled on Wednesday.

It is the first undocking of a U.S. commercial cargo craft from the International Docking Adapter on the station's space-facing port of the Harmony module.

Previous cargo Dragon spacecraft were attached and removed from the ISS using the station's robotic Canadarm2, according to NASA.

The Dragon cargo will conduct a de-orbit burn at 7:37 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday to begin its re-entry sequence into Earth's atmosphere. It is expected to splash down west of Tampa off the Florida coast about 8:27 p.m.

Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the science aboard the capsule to NASA's Kennedy Space Center's Space Station Processing Facility, according to NASA.

Dragon cargo launched Dec. 6 last year on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center, arriving at the ISS just over 24 hours later and achieving the first autonomous docking of a U.S. commercial cargo resupply spacecraft.

The spacecraft delivered more than 6,400 pounds of hardware, research investigations and crew supplies.

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