Featured Image Source: @thejackbeyer via Twitter.
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft successfully completed its final resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) this week. It was the 20th mission under a Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-20) contract with NASA. The CRS-20 mission initiated on March 6, a Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Pad 40 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, carrying the spacecraft on the last journey to the orbiting laboratory. On April 7, the craft was released from the space station to finalize the month-long mission. NASA Astronaut Andrew Morgan monitored Tuesday’s Dragon departure from the space station "That was the last time the arm and Dragon will meet that way so it was fun to watch," he said. "Congratulations to the SpaceX team and the teams all around the world for the successful Dragon mission over the last month and wrapping up Expedition 62." Dragon used its Draco thrusters to move away from ISS, in order to conduct a deorbit burn.
About 6 hours after leaving the orbiting laboratory, Dragon performed a fiery atmosphere reentry, and performed a parachute-assisted splashdown into the Pacific Ocean, off the coast from California's Long Beach. The spacecraft returned more than 4,000 pounds of equipment and vital scientific cargo, including the results of experiments conducted in microgravity. Dragon was even carrying live mice aboard! The mice that rode aboard are part of a Japanese research investigation studying genes are altered during spaceflight. According to NASA, the investigation will help scientists understand how to prepare astronauts for long-duration space voyages.
You know how in movies sad stuff always happens on rainy days? Well today was a very cinematic end for Cargo Dragon. It’s back on land and safely inside it’s lair. Congrats on a job well done to SpaceX and everyone who worked on the Dragon program. #SpaceXFleet @NASASpaceflight pic.twitter.com/ZD56WkfKcb— Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) April 9, 2020