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Dragon Returns to Earth after a month at International Space Station

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Dragon carries back potential scientific discoveries from Space. 

NASA Space Station On-Orbit Status 23 February 2017 – SpaceX Dragon Berthed

SpaceX’s capsule has returned on March 19 and splashed the Pacific Ocean, southwest of Long Beach, California. The Dragon was carrying back 5,400 pounds of cargo and test samples from the International Space Station, marking its 10th payload flight with NASA.

The capsule’s shipment, most of which will be sent to NASA, contains a number of experiments scientists have conducted from the International Space Station including an investigation on Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells and a study on Tissue Regeneration-Bone Defect.

Euro-French spacecraft pilot, Thomas Pesquet, has tweeted about Dragon’s return back to Earth ‘’Today we said goodbye to #Dragon! She is taking part of us back to ground with her – important scientific samples, some from the crew!’’

According to NASA the information carried by Dragon will provide insight into how human cancers start and spread, which supports the development of prevention and treatment plans. ‘’Results from this investigation could lead to the treatment of disease and injury in space, as well as provide a way to improve stem cells production for human therapy on Earth.’’

As for the bone defect study, the information deeply explores biological reasons behind why humans and animals can’t regenerate bones and whether microgravity could allow regeneration.

  The free-flying spacecraft is designed to deliver cargo and people to orbiting destinations. It made history back in 2012 when it became the first commercial spacecraft to ship to the International Space Station and return back to Earth safe and sound. Before SpaceX’s Dragon, this feature was only achievable by governments. The company is currently collaborating with NASA to enable Dragon to fly crew as early as 2018.

Dragon has three configurations; cargo, crew, and DragonLab, which can be used for in-space experiments. The spacecraft’s total launch payload mass is 13,228 while its return mass is 6,614.

Back in 2014, CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk has envisioned his company attaining hundreds of flights within 15 years, “Long-term, we want to get to thousands of space flights a year, where ultimately we have a base on the moon and on Mars.”

  He also expressed his pride and aspirations, “I’m really proud of my team for creating such an incredible piece of technology. Here we have a shot to advance space technology and take things to the next level. To some degree, maybe this helps revive the dream of Apollo.” Well, maybe you can revive it, Musk. Here we are 3 years later celebrating Dragon’s latest accomplishment – and waiting on many more!


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