SpaceX’s cargo Dragon spacecraft splashed into the Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s west coast at about 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday with 4,400 pounds of scientific research and other cargo.
This marks the completion of SpaceX’s 21st shipping mission to the International Space Station.The company launched Dragon with 6,400 pounds of supplies aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on December 6.
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The research material on board was quickly delivered to the Kennedy Space Center̵7;s space station processing center in four to nine hours. Goods from the previous splash in the Pacific Ocean had to be transported to SpaceX and NASA’s facilities in Texas.
Some of the on-board science will contribute to research on “Gravity changes affect cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue level using 3D-designed heart tissue,” according to a NASA announcement.
Other research as a result of this expedition will investigate. “The advantages of using small gravity for cutting-edge developments in regenerative medicine” and “a specific technique for using sextant for emergency navigation aboard spacecraft such as NASA’s Orion”.
The upgraded cargo Dragon capsule enables missions to carry 20% more cargo than previous ships, as well as increasing the amount of science and research to take home.
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The Dragon spacecraft is also automatically docked and unlocked at the International Space Station for the first time, as the Canadarm2 robots were previously used by astronauts to build cargo ships.