SpaceX made history again, when the private space company’s CRS-21 Cargo Dragon undocked from the Harmony module on the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday morning (January 12, 2021). It was the world’s first-ever autonomous (self-governing) undocking. The Cargo Dragon is expected to make its return to Earth later today, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico after a roughly 36-hour journey.
Previous Cargo Dragon spacecraft were attached and removed from the space station using the station’s robotic Canadarm2. Yesterday’s undocking also marked the end of the first time two Dragons had been simultaneously docked to ISS. Today, the SpaceX Crew Dragon remains docked to ISS, still part of its current Expedition 64. The Crew Dragon will return to Earth later this year; more on that further down.
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Yesterday’s undocking of CRS-21 Cargo Dragon was broadcast live at 9:05 a.m. EST (14:05 UTC) via NASA’s streaming platform NASA TV. The undocking event had been originally scheduled for January 11, but bad weather at the spacecraft recovery zone prompted a one-day delay. Astronauts currently aboard the space station monitored the departure, including Victor Glover, a pilot on ...