A spacecraft loaded with almost two tons of NASA cargo, including important scientific technology and research samples, has been recovered in the Pacific Ocean after returning from the International Space Station.
The SpaceX Dragon, left, splashed down 261 miles off the southern California coast at 2:51 p.m. EDT May 11. The recovered capsule and its 3,700 pounds of precious cargo will be shipped to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, once fully unloaded in Long Beach.
Samples include results from experiments in nanotechnology, including a microchannel diffusion study of how micro-particles interact in the absence of gravity. Results will be culled for implications for the fields of particle filtration, space exploration and drug-delivery technology.
The recovered Dragon was the first returning ISS cargo spacecraft in a year. The spacecraft undocked from the orbiting space lab just hours prior to its splashdown, with the undocking completed at about 9 a.m. EDT.
The Dragon had been docked at the ISS since a cargo-delivery mission last month, when it delivered 7,000 pounds of crew supplies to the space station.