The test tubes have landed.
A SpaceX Dragon splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 7:48 a.m. PDT March 19, after returning from the International Space Station. The cargo capsule had been released from the ISS just hours before at 2:11 a.m.
Before departing the orbiting space station, the Dragon was loaded by ISS crew with more than 5,400 pounds of science research samples and testing materials. The capsule was recovered off of Baja California near the coast of Mexico.
Stored scientific samples included stem cells that NASA researchers hope could shed light on how human cancers start and spread. The capsule’s cargo also includes some experimental equipment for space-based refueling, which will be analyzed as the technology is developed further.
Once the cargo is removed from the capsule, the Dragon will be returned to a SpaceX test facility in McGregor, Texas. That’s much the same protocol followed last May, when another Dragon similarly returned from the ISS with scientific samples.
The Dragon was launched to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Florida on Feb. 19.