Update for July7: Tropical Storm Elsa continues to delay SpaceX's plan to undock a Dragon cargo ship from the International Space Station and return it to Earth this week. NASA now says the capsule, originally targeted for a July 6 splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida's coast, will now depart the station no earlier than July 8 at 10:35 a.m. EDT (1435 GMT), weather permitting.
The cargo spacecraft, which was originally expected to leave the space station Tuesday (July 6), will remain docked to the station's Harmony module until at least Wednesday (July 7), NASA said in a statement (opens in new tab).
The decision came as Tropical Storm Elsa neared Florida, bringing heavy winds, downpours and tidal surges, which would make splashdown and recovery of the capsule unsafe.
NASA said the ground teams continue monitoring the situation to ensure wave height and wind speeds are within safe limits during the retrieval operation. NASA TV coverage of the undocking is expected to start at 10:45 am EDT on Wednesday, the space agency said.
Dragon CSR-22 arrived at the orbital outpost June 5 with 7,300 lbs. (3,311 kilograms) of water and food supplies and science experiments on board.
Among its cargo were two new ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA) that European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough installed during a series of spacewalks later that month.
On its return, the spacecraft will deliver back to Earth about 5,000 lbs (2,300 kg) of material from the space station, including experiments testing the activity of oral bacteria in space and the effectiveness of drugs designed to improve muscle function, according to the NASA statement.
Dragon's splashdown, which will be controlled by SpaceX teams from Hawthorne, California, is now expected to take place Friday (July 9). The spacecraft will then be transported to NASA's Space Station Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to affect weather in Florida throughout Wednesday but should move to the north by Thursday morning.