CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The Dragon spacecraft has left its parking spot at the International Space Station. It's the first step in coming back to Earth.
Early Thursday morning, astronauts unbolted the world's first commercial supply ship, the SpaceX Dragon, from the orbiting outpost. Then they used a robot arm to move it away. Next up will come its actual release.
The Dragon — bearing old equipment and some science samples — is due to splash down in the Pacific at midday, Eastern Time. It will aim for an area 560 miles southwest of Los Angeles.
Last week, the California-based SpaceX became the first private company to send a cargo ship to the space station. If all goes well Thursday, it will become the only supplier capable of returning major items.