On Monday, January 24th, SpaceX completed the 24th NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-24) mission that transported cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The CRS-24 mission started on December 21st when a Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Dragon spacecraft to the ISS with over 6,400 pounds of cargo. After a month docked at ISS, Dragon was packed with the results of science research conducted at the orbiting lab and cargo to return to Earth. SpaceX Mission Control commanded the spacecraft to undock from the space-facing port of the ISS Harmony module at 10:40 a.m. EST on Sunday, January 23. Dragon performed an autonomous voyage back to Earth, it reentered Earth’s atmosphere on Monday with over 4,900 pounds of cargo.
LIVE NOW: @SpaceX's #CargoDragon is departing the @Space_Station, bringing medical research and other scientific investigations back to Earth.— NASA (@NASA) January 23, 2022
Undocking is scheduled for 10:40am ET (15:40 UTC): https://t.co/rkvfiffz4d
The spacecraft performed a parachute-assisted splashdown at 4:05 p.m. EST off Florida’s coast, near Panama City, ending SpaceX’s 24th contracted cargo resupply mission to the Space Station. SpaceX and NASA recovery teams sailed the Gulf of Mexico to fish-out Dragon out of the ocean this evening. “Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the experiments to NASA’s Space Station Processing Facility at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, allowing researchers to collect data with minimal sample exposure to Earth’s gravity,” said NASA representatives in a press release.
Once Dragon has been retrieved by SpaceX’s recovery team, the critical science aboard the spacecraft will be transported by helicopter to @NASAKennedy and provided to researchers— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 24, 2022
Packed aboard the capsule are results of an experiment by the European Space Agency that studies the ‘Cytoskeleton’. The research is designed to expand knowledge on how the human body responds to microgravity. “The study could support development of countermeasures to help astronaut crew members maintain optimum health on future space missions,” the agency says. The results from another ISS research, called InSpace-4, are also aboard CRS-24 Dragon. InSpace-4 could help scientists develop new procedures to use nanoparticles to build innovative materials for making spaceflight tools.
NASA is also returning a state-of-the-art light imaging microscope, called Light Microscopy Module (LMM), that was in use at the ISS Laboratory for 12 years. “LMM, sponsored by NASA’s Division of Biological and Physical Sciences, made it possible to observe and record the way matter is organized and moves on the microscopic level, and supported ground-breaking colloid research, plant studies, and thermophysics experiments,” the agency said.
Featured Image Source: NASA