The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is rapidly approaching the International Space Station (ISS) for an automated docking, just a day after its launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Laden with an impressive payload of over 7,000 pounds, including science experiments, station hardware, and crew supplies, the Dragon and the ISS orbit 259 miles above the Pacific Ocean, casting a beautiful glow as the last rays of an orbital sunset illuminate the cloud tops. Credit: NASA
On June 29, the highly anticipated return of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the ISS is scheduled, carrying an impressive load of over 3,600 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments. Among these valuable contents are the GRIP chair from the European Space Agency (ESA) and samples from various investigations. Following the spacecraft’s splashdown off the coast of Florida, a swift transfer to NASA’s processing facility will enable immediate analysis.
As the SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft bids farewell to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, June 29, NASA eagerly awaits the arrival of scientific research samples and hardware.
You can catch all the thrilling action live, courtesy of NASA Television, the NASA app, and online platforms. Starting at 11:45 a.m. EDT, NASA will provide live coverage of Dragon’s undocking and departure. Don’t miss out on this exciting event. Tune in here: https://www.nasa.gov/live
Under the guidance of ground controllers at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, Dragon will execute undocking from the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module. By firing its thrusters, the spacecraft will create a safe distance between itself and the ISS. The undocking procedure is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.
Following re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft will make a parachute-assisted splashdown at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Friday, June 30, off the coast of Florida. Please note that NASA will not broadcast the splashdown.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour captures a stunning image of the International Space Station during a fly-around following its undocking from the Harmony module’s space-facing port on November 8, 2021. Credit: NASA
Dragon will safely transport back to Earth a weighty cargo of over 3,600 pounds, comprising essential supplies and scientific experiments specifically designed to leverage the microgravity environment of the space station. The choice of splashing down off the coast of Florida facilitates swift transportation of the experiments to NASA’s Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center. This approach minimizes the exposure of samples to Earth’s gravity, allowing researchers to gather valuable data.
Among the scientific hardware and samples returning on this mission is the GRIP chair, an integral part of the ESA-sponsored neurology experiments known as GRIP and GRASP (Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance: Reaching and Grasping). GRIP focuses on understanding the impact of microgravity on object manipulation, while GRASP provides further insights into how the central nervous system adapts to the microgravity environment. These experiments have been on the space station for nearly six years, and their final in-orbit tests concluded in early 2023.
Additionally, samples from the BioNutrients-2, Monoclonal Antibodies, and Myotones investigations will also return to Earth for scientific analysis.
Having arrived at the ISS on June 6 as part of SpaceX’s 28th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA, the Dragon spacecraft successfully delivered over 7,000 pounds of research investigations, crew supplies, and station hardware. Notably, it carried two IROSAs (International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays). The spacecraft embarked on its journey on June 5, propelled by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA Kennedy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SpaceX Dragon departure
Q: When is the departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the ISS scheduled?
A: The departure of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft from the ISS is scheduled for Thursday, June 29.
Q: What will the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft be carrying back to Earth?
A: The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will be carrying over 3,600 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments back to Earth, including the ESA’s GRIP chair and samples from various investigations.
Q: How can I watch the live coverage of Dragon’s undocking and departure?
A: You can watch the live coverage of Dragon’s undocking and departure on NASA Television, the NASA app, and online platforms. The coverage will start at 11:45 a.m. EDT.
Q: Where will the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft splashdown after re-entering Earth’s atmosphere?
A: After re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will splashdown off the coast of Florida.
Q: What is the purpose of splashing down off the coast of Florida?
A: Splashing down off the coast of Florida allows for quick transportation of the experiments to NASA’s Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, facilitating analysis with minimal sample exposure to Earth’s gravity.
Q: What are some of the scientific hardware and samples returning on the mission?
A: Some of the scientific hardware and samples returning on the mission include the GRIP chair used in neurology experiments, as well as samples from investigations such as BioNutrients-2, Monoclonal Antibodies, and Myotones.
Q: How did the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft initially arrive at the ISS?
A: The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft arrived at the ISS on June 6 as part of SpaceX’s 28th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA. It was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A.