After multiple weather-related delays, SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft successfully departed the International Space Station on Thursday, beginning its journey back to Earth with over 5,000 pounds of completed science experiments and other cargo.
Dragon Departs Following Multiple Scrubs
The CRS-29 Dragon originally attempted to depart on Sunday, but was delayed due to high winds and rough seas at the targeted splashdown location off the Florida coast. Subsequent departure attempts on Monday and Wednesday were also postponed due to weather not permitting recovery operations.
As reported, Dragon finally left the station at 2:05 p.m. EST Thursday, closing out over a month attached to the orbiting laboratory.
Returning Experiments and Technology
Dragon is transporting scientific investigations and technology demonstrations back to Earth, completing work to advance knowledge for future space exploration and benefit life on our home planet.
Highlights of returning ISS National Lab sponsored investigations include:
- Tissue chips studying the efficacy of drugs targeting lung and bone marrow tissues
- Protein crystal growth experiments to inform new drug development
- Multiple student experiments from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program
Additionally, Dragon is bringing back a malting experiment that could optimize malting processes on Earth and enable the ability to malt in space.
|Tissue Chips in Space
|Test efficacy of lung, bone marrow treatments
|Protein Crystal Growth
|Enable new drug development
|Student Spaceflight Experiments Program
|Inspire future scientists and engineers
|Malting in Microgravity
|Space industry applications
|Optimize processes on Earth, enable space malting
“The science returning on this Dragon has the potential to benefit human health both on Earth and during future long-duration space exploration missions,” said ISS National Lab Chief Scientist Dr. Michael Roberts.
Splashdown Off Florida Coast
Dragon is scheduled to splash down off the Florida coast on Saturday, December 23, with retrieval by SpaceX’s recovery ship Megan. The spacecraft is bringing back more than 5,000 pounds of cargo, including science experiments, maintenance hardware, and other supplies.
This was the 29th contracted resupply mission for SpaceX under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
Further ISS Cargo Mission Activities
The departure of CRS-29 Dragon comes just a day before Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft is also scheduled to depart the station. Cygnus will dispose of several tons of trash by burning up in Earth’s atmosphere on Friday.
This week marks the end of a busy cargo resupply period for the ISS. Another SpaceX Dragon capsule arrived at the station just over two weeks ago on December 11, delivering over 7,700 pounds of new science investigations, supplies, and equipment.
With both Dragons and Cygnus departing, the station crew can now focus on continuing their scientific research and station maintenance activities. Over the holidays, they will be working on upgrading solar arrays, replacing life support components, and conducting studies on how space affects immune function, biofilm formation, and more.
The next planned cargo resupply flight will be SpaceX’s CRS-30 Dragon in late February 2024.
After over a month attached to the space station, SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon has returned vital science and technology demonstrations to Earth. Its splashdown off the Florida coast on Saturday will cap a successful stay at the orbiting laboratory.
The experiments and investigations returned on Dragon have promising applications for space industry growth and improving life on Earth. As the station crew celebrates the holidays in space, they can be proud of the productive science enabled by these visiting cargo vehicles.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.