SpaceX Dragon Heads Back to Earth with Station Science, Gear

A spaceX capsule headed back to Earth on Friday with a load of science experiments and gear from the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins waved goodbye as the Dragon slowly flew away, aiming for a splashdown in the Pacific, just off Mexico’s Baja California coast. It’s loaded with 3,000 pounds of research and equipment, including 12 mice that flew up on the Dragon as part of a genetic study.

Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi used the big robot arm to release the capsule Friday morning 250 miles above the Timor Sea north of Australia.

Onishi said he was sad to see the Dragon go: “We had a great time and enjoyed it.” Mission Control thanked the astronauts for their effort, then added, “To the Dragon recovery team, fair winds and following seas.”

The Dragon delivered a new docking port last month that will be used in another year or two by SpaceX and Boeing, which are developing crew capsules for NASA. Its shuttles five years retired, the space agency has turned over orbital deliveries of both cargo and astronauts to private companies, in order to focus on Mars exploration.

SpaceX is the only space station shipper capable of returning items for analysis back to Earth; that’s why the Dragon is so important to NASA. Everyone else’s cargo ships are filled with trash at mission’s end and burn up on re-entry.

Related Posts
Concept portrayal of China's Mars rover and lander released on August 23, 2016 by lunar probe and space project center of Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.     China Daily/via REUTERS
China has showed off its first images of a rover it plans to sent to Mars in mid-2020, which is designed to explore the planet surface for three months, state ...
READ MORE
Rare “ring of fire” eclipse passes over Zimbabwe
An annular eclipse that hit Southern Africa was visible in Zimbabwe on Thursday morning as the moon passed in front of the sun, creating a brilliant ring of sunlight that ...
READ MORE
Pope urges Christians to save planet from “debris, desolation”
VATICAN - Pope Francis called on Thursday for concerted action against environmental degradation and climate change, renewing a fierce attack on consumerism and financial greed which, he said, were threatening ...
READ MORE
Nuclear test explosion in Mururoa atoll, French Polynesia, in 1971. The official expert group says the Anthropocene should begin about 1950 and is likely to be defined by the radioactive elements dispersed across Earth by nuclear bomb tests. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – needs to be declared, according to an official expert group who presented ...
READ MORE
Close-Up Of Bumblebee Pollinating On Pink Flower
Bees can experience happiness too. Eating sugary food might put them in a positive mood, according to a team of researchers from Queen Mary University in London. Insects, and more generally ...
READ MORE
A view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, is seen in an undated artist's impression released by the European Southern Observatory August 24, 2016.   ESO/M. Kornmesser/Handout via Reuters
Scientists have discovered a planet that appears to be similar to Earth circling the star closest to the sun, potentially a major step in the quest to find out if ...
READ MORE
Alcohol dependence tied to lack of key enzyme, reducing stigma for patients with addiction
People suffering from alcoholism may have lost the impulse control due to absence of an enzyme in the brain. By Léa Surugue The lack of a key enzyme may be tied to ...
READ MORE
Size, circuits and hormones: Do men and women really have different brains?
London's Science Museum has faced harsh criticisms after it opened an exhibition which asked visitors to test whether they had a "blue" or "pink" brain. The idea was that after ...
READ MORE
China shows first images of Mars rover, aims
Rare “ring of fire” eclipse passes over Zimbabwe
Pope urges Christians to save planet from “debris,
The Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced
Bees can feel happiness too – sugary food
Scientists find Earth-like planet circling sun’s nearest neighbor
Alcohol dependence tied to lack of key enzyme,
Size, circuits and hormones: Do men and women

Arts & Entertainment