SpaceX’s uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down at 2:53 p.m. EDT (11:53 a.m. PDT) Saturday, August 20, north of Cape Canaveral off the Florida coast, marking the return of the company’s 25th contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA. The spacecraft carried more than 4,000 pounds of valuable scientific experiments and other cargo back to Earth.
Dragon was released from the forward port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 11:05 a.m. on Friday, August 19, while the ISS was flying 259 miles over the Pacific Ocean. It arrived at the space station on July 16, following a launch two days earlier on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Some of the scientific investigations returned by Dragon include:
- Space’s impact on materials: The Materials International Space Station Experiment-15-NASA (MISSE-15-NASA) experiment tests, qualifies, and quantifies the impact of the low-Earth orbit environment on new materials and components, such as spacecraft materials and wearable radiation protection. Successful experiment results could have applications both in the harsh environments of space and on Earth.
- Spacesuit cooling: Spacesuit Evaporation Rejection Flight Experiment (SERFE) demonstrates a new technology using water evaporation to remove heat from spacesuits and maintain appropriate temperatures for crew members and equipment during spacewalks. The investigation determines whether microgravity affects performance and evaluates the technology’s effect on contamination and corrosion of spacesuit material.
- Cell signaling in microgravity: The ESA (European Space Agency) sponsored investigation Bioprint FirstAid Handheld Bioprinter (Bioprint FirstAid) enables the rapid use of formerly prepared bio-inks, containing the patient’s own cells, to form a band-aid patch in the case of injury.