SpaceX Dragon capsule returns to Earth: what’s in that 2,668 pounds of cargo?

Chris Burns - Mar 26, 2013
SpaceX Dragon capsule returns to Earth: what’s in that 2,668 pounds of cargo?

Today the SpaceX capsule that’d three weeks ago visited the International Space Station has splashed down into the Pacific Ocean. This trip was planned and executed precisely, with NASA’s announcement of a landing (today) being issued back on the 22nd of this month. What we’ve got inside of this lovely machine is a set of science samples from the space station from areas of human research, biology and biotechnology studies, and physical science investigations, as well as education activities.

The landing was called successful this morning and right around the full 2,668 pounds (1,210 kilograms) will be collected and studied into the future. One of the areas these particular samples are being used is in the study of long-lasting spaceflight’s impact on the human body. Another is the study of plants as they’ve been grown on the space station, these samples being set for aiding in growing better and more fruitful plants in the future both on the space station and here on our planet’s surface.

Also onboard the ship – and shipped back this month – were a collection of crystals grown aboard the ship. With these crystals, NASA scientists hope to aid in the development of new more efficient solar cells as well as semiconductor-based electronics. As NASA reminds us, the SpaceX capsule Dragon “is the only space station resupply spacecraft able to return to Earth intact.”

Elon Musk himself Tweeted at 11:59 AM CST that the recovery ship had secured Dragon. He went on to note that as they powered down all secondary systems, it was apparent that all cargo looked “A ok”. According to the official SpaceX Twitter account, the Dragon capsule made its splashdown at 9:34AM PST – now it’s time to watch the research and see SpaceX and NASA head upward once again!

[Photo via SpaceX]

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