UPDATE, 12:15 PM: "Recovery ship has secured Dragon," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk just tweeted. "Powering down all secondary systems. Cargo looks A ok."

UPDATE, 11:45 AM: SpaceX has tweeted that a successful splashdown occurred at 11:34 a.m. CDT.

UPDATE, 6:25 AM: SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship departed the International Space Station early Tuesday to start its journey back to Earth — and, eventually, to McGregor.

The station's robotic arm started to pull the Dragon away at 3:10 a.m. CDT Tuesday, slowly moving the ship position for release on time at 5:56 a.m. A series of engine firings followed over the next 10 minutes, putting distance between ship and station.

The ship, carrying 2,668 pounds of cargo for the return trip, is scheduled to fire its engines again to drop out of orbit at 10:42 a.m., with splashdown in the Pacific Ocean set for 11:34 a.m. CDT. After a 30 hour trip back to shore, time-sensitive material will be unloaded from the Dragon in port, then the capsule will be trucked back to SpaceX's development site in McGregor to offload the rest of its cargo.

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