Cargo Dragon Targeting a Friday Splashdown

Space Coast, FL – Wednesday, July 7, SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon is departing the ISS for a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean targeting Thursday, July 8. This will complete the SpaceX CRS-22 ( 22nd commercial resupply services) mission for NASA. The Cargo Dragon spacecraft will be loaded with ~5,000 pounds of science experiments and various cargo from the International Space Station.

SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship is pictured approaching the International Space Station June 5, 2021
SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship is pictured approaching the International Space Station June 5, 2021 | Image: NASA

Dragon will be undocking from the station’s Harmony module at 11 a.m. SpaceX ground controllers in Hawthorne, California, will command the undocking, while NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough monitors from aboard the station. The cargo spacecraft will detach from the station five minutes later. It will then fire its thrusters and proceed to move a safe distance away. This is all prior to a deorbit burn. In which it will begin its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. A parachute-assisted splashdown for Dragon is targeting around 12 a.m. EDT, Friday, July 9.

Having the spacecraft splashing down off the coast of Florida provides swift transportation of the science aboard. This helps get the research to NASA’s Space Station Processing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida and back into the hands of the researchers. The quicker timeframe allows scientists and researchers to get data with the least amount of sample exposure to gravity.

Cargo Dragon on top of a Falcon 9 rocket booster making it's way to the ISS for CRS-22
Cargo Dragon on top of a Falcon 9 rocket booster lifting off to the ISS for CRS-22 | Photo: Jon Van Horne

CRS-22 Mission

On June 3, the spacecraft delivered over 7,300 pounds of research, supplies, and hardware to the International Space Station. Dragon’s “trunk” also brought six new ISS Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSAs). Two have been installed already by Expedition 65 crew members Kimbrough and Thomas Pesquet. During three spacewalks on June 16, 20, and 25.

A few of the science and research being returned are as follows:

Lyophilization-2 examines how gravity affects freeze-dried materials and could result in improved freeze-drying processes for pharmaceutical and other industries. Freeze-drying also has potential use for long-term storage of medications and other resources on future exploration missions.

Molecular Muscle Experiment-2 tests a series of drugs to see whether they can improve health in space, possibly leading to new therapeutic targets for examination on Earth.

Oral Biofilms in Space studies how gravity affects the structure, composition, and activity of oral bacteria in the presence of common oral care agents. Findings could support development of novel treatments to fight oral diseases such as cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis.

NASA will be hosting a live web feed for the undocking but will not being covering the splash down. Stay posted with us here on our website and Go Space Launch on twitter for further updates.

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