SpaceX Dragon cargo ship launched by the private space company on February 19 returned to Earth last Sunday, after staying at the International Space Station for a month.
The ship descended 230 miles southwest of Long Beach, California according to CBS. The SpaceX capsule was equipped with 4,500 pounds of supplies for the ISS. This was the 10th SpaceX resupply mission to the ISS. In this opportunity, the ship carried some supplies and scientific equipment.
“There is a part of us that will come back down to Earth with her, and I mean that literally because it carries lots of important scientific samples, and some obtained directly from the crew,” said the European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet after the Dragon’s release, according to CBS.
Some investigation results came back from space
NASA said in a statement that some of the cargo would be removed and returned to the agency after recovering the ship. The results of the Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells investigation that had crew members observe cell growth and other characteristics in microgravity have returned from the ISS at SpaceX Dragon.
This investigation would contribute to the treatment of disease and injury in space, as well as provide a way to improve stem cell production for human therapy on Earth, according to a NASA statement. On the other hand, some payloads from the ISS were placed in the SpaceX ship for disposal.
The SpaceX mission was launched from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and was the first commercial launch from this launch complex.
Another instrument inside the Dragon was the SAGE II for Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment. It was used to study the ozone, nitrogen dioxide and water vapor levels in the stratosphere and troposphere, according to NASA. The instrument is now connected to the outside of the ISS, and it will make observations for many years since now.
The ship also brought science samples from human and animal research, biotechnology studies, physical science investigations, and education activities.
The next mission
The next resupply mission would be launched on March 24. It will be in charge of the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 from Orbital ATK, another company that holds NASA contracts to resupply the ISS. NASA is expecting to send equipment to the lab complex, according to Orbital ATK. The launch could possible change to March 23, if the Eastern Range becomes available.
The departure of the SpaceX Dragon was broadcasted live on NASA TV. NASA also announced that the Orbital ATK launching would be live on Nasa Television. The Cygnus spacecraft will be launched from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.