SpaceX Dragon brings home 3,500-lb. cargo from ISS, parachutes safely into Pacific Ocean

July 13, 2017 – 08:52 am

SpaceX Dragon Retrieval ProcessMany scientists running experiments related to space and space travel have been anxiously awaiting the return of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station. However, the wait is over since the spacecraft has successfully splashed down in the Pacific bringing with it over 3, 500 pounds of valuable scientific cargo.

This May 18, the Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean in a location around 300 miles west of Baja, Calif. The spacecraft hit water at approximately 3:05 p.m. EDT in the afternoon. The Dragon brought back a treasure trove of scientific cargo running the gamut of scientific research. From biological samples to experimental physics results, the Dragon's cargo is expected to keep scientists busy for a while.

Aside from being a large-scale experiment in space habitation and space travel, the ISS also functions as a laboratory for a range of experiments. While most experiments can be conducted on Earth, there are some investigations that require the special environment that only a space station can provide. Things like microgravity and high levels of radiation can be difficult to simulate on Earth, especially for long periods of time. In cases like these, scientists depend on the ISS to conduct certain types of experiments.

"The space station is our springboard to deep space and the science samples returned to Earth are critical to improving our knowledge of how space affects humans who live and work there for long durations, " said NASA associate administrator for human explorations and operations William Gerstenmaier. "Now that Dragon has returned, scientists can complete their analyses, so we can see how results may impact future human space exploration or provide direct benefits to people on Earth."

Once the Dragon splashed down, it was retrieved using a special boat, which will then transport the spacecraft to Los Angeles. From there, some of the experimental samples will be unloaded and sent out to their designated recipients. In particular, a special freezer filled with important samples will be retrieved from the spacecraft and sent over to NASA. Many of these samples are quite sensitive and will be transported to NASA labs within 2 days.


Source: www.techtimes.com

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