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Sunday, March 24, 2013 9:26:35 AM (IST)  

Dragon spacecraft's return from ISS postponed

Washington, March 24 (IANS/RIA Novosti): The return of the US Dragon space freighter from the International Space Station (ISS) to Earth has been postponed by a day due to poor weather conditions, NASA said.

"More than three weeks after arriving at the station, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is ready for the trip back to Earth, now scheduled for Tuesday, March 26," NASA said.

"Dragon's return date, originally scheduled for March 25, was postponed due to inclement weather developing near its targeted splashdown site in the Pacific Ocean," it said.

A Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft blasted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida March 1. The docking with the space station was performed March 3, a day later than scheduled due to a thruster failure.

The Dragon brought some 550 kg of cargo to the ISS, and will take back to Earth over one metric tonne of load.

It was the second of at least 12 flights to the ISS that US private company SpaceX carried out under its $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract.

Last year, the Dragon made a demonstration flight to the space station in May and carried out the first resupply mission in October, delivering more than 450 kg of cargo.

Dragon's third mission to the space station is expected in the fall of 2013. The spacecraft will be launched on board a modernised version of the Falcon 9 rocket.

The Dragon is a reusable spacecraft developed by SpaceX to fly cargo to the ISS after NASA retired its space shuttle fleet last year.

The spacecraft is capable of carrying more than 7,000 pounds (3,175 kg) of cargo split between pressurised and unpressurised sections.

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