The SpaceX Cargo Dragon capsule parachuted to a spot where it splashed onto its target Wednesday night west of Tampa, returning more than two tons of experimental samples from the International Space Station, including a living rodent and a French wine. dozen
A commercial supply ship, flying autopilot, fell out of orbit and re-entered the atmosphere over the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday night. A sequence of parachutes deployed to slow down the capsule’s descending at a relatively smooth speed for a splash down west of Tampa, where the SpaceX recovery ship is in standby mode to pull the spacecraft from the sea.
The return includes a 38-day mission for Cargo Dragon, the first in a redesign of the SpaceX ship to serve the upgraded International Space Station Cargo Dragon, or Dragon 2, replacing the fleet of SpaceX’s first Dragon cargo capsule, which flew. For the last time in early 2020
SpaceX confirmed Cargo Dragon’s success by tweeting NASA and SpaceX did not provide any live coverage of the capsule’s return to Earth. NASA’s WB-57 aerial imaging aircraft is flying over the recovery zone to photograph another Cargo Dragon’s entry and splash.
NASA released a statement Wednesday night later confirming that the capsule had bounced off at 8:26 p.m. EST (0126 GMT).
The cargo dragons left the space station at 9:05 am EST (1405 GMT) Tuesday, a day later than planned, a SpaceX and NASA manager delayed their homecoming due to inclement weather in the main recovery zone. In the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Daytona Beach.
A NASA spokesman said the dragon returned to Earth weighing 4,414 pounds or 2,002 kilograms.
The new Cargo Dragon capsule is derived from SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which is used to transport astronauts to and from the space station.Upgraded Cargo Dragon capsules, such as the Crew Dragon, are designed to bounce off the coast of Florida near a decorated facility. SpaceX’s Dragon at Cape Canaveral Station Space Force
Its proximity to Cape Canaveral allowed SpaceX to return the time-sensitive cargo to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in a matter of four to nine hours. The last Dragon cargo mission ended in a splash in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California, and it took days for the space station research samples to be transferred to NASA.
The recovery ship “Go Navigator”, with SpaceX personnel and engineers, is lifting the capsules onto the deck after the splash, the SpaceX team plans to load time-sensitive science samples and take them on a helicopter to fly. To the Kennedy Space Center overnight.
The helicopters will arrive at Kennedy’s launch and landing center and the cargo will be transported to the nearby space station processing center by truck, according to NASA.
The scientists there will receive a sample to begin their analysis. After a quick review of the SSPF at Kennedy, some of the material will be sent to research teams in California, Texas, Massachusetts, Japan and other locations, NASA said.
The return of science samples to Kennedy swiftly after they returned to space, Harken returned to the space shuttle program when the mission brought its cargo directly to the Florida space port.
“Finally, I am excited to see science back here, because we can bring these time-sensitive experiments into the lab much faster than ever before,” said Jennifer Wahlberg, Utilization Program Manager. From the Space Center, Kennedy said in a statement, “Sending science into space and getting it again on the runway is a sure thing in a shuttle era that we are proud of, and it’s great to be back in the process.” very”
The homing experiments aboard the Cargo Dragon included live mice as part of the Rodent Research 23 investigation, which studies the function of the arteries, veins and lymph structures in the eye and the changes of the retina before and after. Space flight, as reported by NASA
Scientists are seeking insights into whether these changes affect the eye. At least 40 percent of astronauts experience vision problems on long-haul space flights, NASA said.
“The Rat-23 research was designed to begin studying rodent gravitational responses as quickly as possible, making it the best choice for this flight,” said Jennifer Bukhli, deputy chief scientist at the National Institute of Medicine. The International Space Station program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston said.
Also on board the Cargo Dragon: twelve bottles of Bordeaux wine and 320 cut grapes.
The wine bottles spent more than a year aboard the space station after being launched aboard the Northrop Grumman Cygnus transport ship in late 2019.Now back on Earth, some of the bottles will be open exclusively for tasting, while researchers will begin scientific analysis. More Of some wines to measure how old the wine is after 14 months in weightless conditions
Scientists will be looking at grape branches, called sugar canes, to assess how they are weathered in the rain and in orbit low-gravity environments. One goal of a privately funded experiment led by Luxembourg-based startup Space Cargo Unlimited is to learn how plants adapt to the stress of spaceflight.
Space Cargo Unlimited says grapes and wineries are susceptible to climate change, and the results of space station experiments could lead to lessons on how to grow grapes in harsher environments on Earth.
There will also be biomedical experiments led by researchers at Stanford University to look at how gravity affects cardiovascular cells and experiments developed by Japanese scientists. Showed the growth of a 3D organ eye from human stem cells in space.
Other experiments returned to Earth include payloads led by researchers at Texas State University to look for the bacterial genes used during biofilm growth. The investigation examines whether these biofilms can corrode stainless steel and assess the effectiveness of silver-based disinfectants to help long-term spacecraft designers in the future.
Materials from the fiber optic manufacturing technology demonstration are also being used in Cargo Dragon.Scientists and engineers will examine the fiber-optic materials produced on the space station to see if they match predictions that the fibers produced. In space there are “Is the property much superior to materials made on Earth?” NASA said.
The upgraded Cargo Dragon spaceship has more internal volume than SpaceX’s first Dragon cargo ship, which performed its final mission to the space station in 2020. It also has more lock-drive capabilities than previous Dragon capsules. Double and accommodate up to 12 return-to-world containers, adding the ability to recover frozen and chilled samples.
“Previous use of the Dragon spacecraft could take up to 48 hours from the capsule hitting the water in the Pacific Ocean to return to Long Beach, California. We then started distributing those samples four to five hours later, ”said Mary Walsh, Head of the Kennedy Research Integration Office. The early returns are in hand and passed to researchers just four to nine hours after the splash. ”
“The ability to quickly bring science back to science is vital for space biology because we wanted to understand whether the impact we were trying to measure orbit was due to gravity-less conditions or due to the stress on the participants or the participants. Samples may see when they land, ”said Kurt Costello, NASA’s chief scientist for the space station program. Excellent “
Other changes introduced to the new Cargo Dragon spacecraft include the ability to automatically dock and unlock at the station. Dragon’s first cargo ship was captured by the station’s robotic arm.
The Cargo Dragon’s pressure chamber can be reused five times, according to SpaceX.The uncompressed chests are dropped and the new ones fly in each Cargo Dragon mission.
Before firing its braking rockets out of orbit, the Cargo Dragon dropped its hull into space before hauling in the atmosphere would cause it to return to its natural atmosphere and burn. The capsule also closes the nasal cones to close the connection port before it ejects back into the atmosphere.
Launched on December 6 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a Falcon 9 capsule rocket, Cargo Dragon arrived the following day in an automated connection with a new, top-tip, or top-facing docking port. Of the Harmony module of the Research Outpost
It sent to the space station, numerous experiments and locked commercial aircraft for Nanoracks, a Houston-based company that plans to use it in addition to small satellite installations, littering and host research investigations.
The Cargo Dragon mission has been SpaceX’s 21st backup flight to the space station since 2012 under a multi-billion dollar contract with NASA.
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