SpaceX confirmed via Twitter on Friday that the Dragon Cargo capsule that departed the ISS earlier in the week had successfully splashed down in the ocean. The successful splashdown marked the end of the CRS-22 mission and the return of approximately 5000 pounds of experiments and cargo to Earth. The capsule’s return marks the end of the 22nd commercial resupply mission, with splashdown occurring on Friday at 11:30 PM EDT off the coast of Florida.
Dragon left the ISS on Thursday, July 8, at 10:45 AM EDT. At that time, it performed three burns of its Draco thrusters to move away from the ISS. SpaceX says after approximately 37 hours of phasing, the spacecraft reentered Earth’s atmosphere and later deployed its two drogue and four main parachutes making a soft water landing in the Gulf of Mexico.
NASA aired coverage of the departure from the ISS but provided no coverage of the splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico. The capsule was attached to the ISS on the space-facing port of the ISS Harmony module. The splashdown off the Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico was performed because NASA needed a shorter transportation timeframe to get experiments from the Dragon capsule to researchers back on land.
Dragon launched on June 3, carrying more than 7300 pounds of cargo to the orbiting space station. Recently, SpaceX talked a bit about the Crew Dragon being used for the all-civilian orbital mission. One of the more interesting things about that mission is that since the Dragon capsule being used won’t be docking with the ISS, the docking hardware was removed from the spacecraft’s nose.
The nose of the capsule is where SpaceX installed the toilet, which happens to be right beneath the cupola giving the toilet one of the most incredible views in the galaxy. The toilet has no real privacy for the crew members, only separating them from the other crew using a curtain.