SpaceX launched the 24th NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-24) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on December 21st. A Falcon 9 lifted off from Launch Pad-39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, sending Dragon to the ISS with more than 6,500 pounds of cargo, including science research and holiday goodies for the ISS Expedition 66 crewmembers. After a month at the orbiting laboratory, Dragon CRS-24 undocked from the ISS Harmony module on Sunday, January 23 at 10:40 a.m. EST.
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 is packed with over 4,900 pounds of science cargo to return to Earth, including the results of important scientific experiments conducted in microgravity. It fired its thrusters to move away from the Station as Expedition 66 astronauts working at ISS monitored the autonomous operation. “Dragon separation confirmed,” NASA Astronaut Tom Marshburn radioed Mission Control when Dragon undocked. It separated from the ISS while orbiting above the South Pacific Ocean. “Expedition 66 wishes the Dragon well on its return,” Marshburn said. “Congratulations to Houston and SpaceX. Can’t wait to see what the results bring!” he added, in reference to the science research results aboard the Dragon capsule.
The @SpaceX #CargoDragon completed its stay at the station today after undocking at 9:40am ET. It will splashdown off the coast of Florida on Monday. https://t.co/IvfliiSKw9 pic.twitter.com/2pWjp4uJiD— International Space Station (@Space_Station) January 23, 2022
SpaceX Mission Control will command Dragon to perform a deorbit burn on Monday, January 24 to complete SpaceX’s CRS-24 mission. The spacecraft will reenter Earth’s atmosphere and conduct a parachute-assisted splashdown at around 4:05 p.m. EST near Panama City off the coast of Florida. As soon as Dragon splashes down, SpaceX and NASA recovery teams will fish-out the spacecraft from the ocean to transport the important cargo back to NASA’s processing facility in Cape Canaveral Kennedy Space Center. The cargo includes delicate science research performed in microgravity that needs to be transported to scientists as quickly as possible to minimize the effects of gravity from affecting the experiments’ results and findings. 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, could help scientists develop new procedures to use nanoparticles to build innovative materials for making spaceflight tools. Learn more about some of the work performed at the Space Station in the video linked below.
Featured Image Source: NASA & SpaceX