SpaceX Dragon cargo ship leaves space station

This image provided by NASA-TV shows the SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft as it is ba...

MARCIA DUNN, AP
Tue Mar 26, 11:25 AM UTC

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The Dragon cargo ship has left the International Space Station and is on its way back to Earth.

Astronauts released the unmanned cargo ship from the end of the space station's giant robot arm Tuesday morning.

The parting occurred about 250 miles over the South Pacific. The privately owned spacecraft will splash down in the Pacific early in the afternoon. It's returning science samples and old space station equipment.

The California-based SpaceX company launched the Dragon from Cape Canaveral, Fla., at the beginning of March. NASA is paying SpaceX to periodically supply the space station.

Mechanical trouble caused a one-day delay in Dragon's arrival to the space station.

Three people are aboard the space station right now. They'll be joined by three more following this week's Soyuz launch from Kazakhstan.