For the final time, a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule was released from the International Space Station’s robotic arm Tuesday and splashed down hours later in Pacific Ocean southwest of Los Angeles. Beginning later this year, SpaceX will fly upgraded Dragon freighters that will dock automatically with the space station and parachute into the Atlantic Ocean east of Florida.
A SpaceX Dragon cargo freighter departed the International Space Station Tuesday for return to Earth, wrapping up the 20th and final visit to the orbiting research complex for the current version of SpaceX’s supply ship before an upgraded Dragon starts launching later this year. Release from the space station’s robotic arm occurred at 9:06 a.m. EDT (1306 GMT), followed by splashdown in the Pacific Ocean at 2:50 p.m. EDT (1850 GMT).
A nest of genetically-engineered mice, a research study to observe the behavior of fires in space, and an experiment that could lead to brewing beer in microgravity are among more than 5,700 pounds of cargo inside a SpaceX Dragon capsule awaiting launch from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station Thursday.
NASA astronaut Jessica Meir took control of the International Space Station’s Canadian-built robot arm Monday to capture a Northrop Grumman Cygnus supply ship carrying crew provisions, spacewalking gear to repair an aging particle physics experiment, tech demo satellites for the U.S. military, and an oven to bake the first cookies in space.