On Saturday afternoon, one of SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon capsules splashed down off the coast of Florida after a month-long stay at the International Space Station.
The Dragon capsule departed the station on Friday morning and landed to the north-west of Cape Canaveral at about 2:54 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Following a trajectory south-east over the United States, the capsule could be heard reentering from parts of Alabama, Georgia, and northern Florida.
The capsule is being recovered by one of SpaceX’s recovery vessels, Megan, formerly known as GO Searcher. The most time-sensitive cargo is brought to Kennedy Space Center via helicopter, and Megan will carry the spacecraft to Port Canaveral for processing.
This Dragon capsule launched on July 15 and spent just over a month at the station. Prior to launch, a hydrazine leak led to a delay. This leak led to the parachutes and any affected components being replaced. Those parachutes performed well, slowing the capsule’s descent for a soft splashdown into the Atlantic Ocean.
On its trip up to the station, the capsule carried science experiments and supplies for the astronauts aboard. The experiments ranged from protein production for future medical applications to the creation of concrete alternatives using lunar or martian soil.
On its way back, the capsule brought back parts of a spacesuit that experienced a water leak earlier this year and samples from several experiments aboard the station – including experiments on radiation’s impact on cells and samples from a “bio-printer” that could help with skin-reconstruction.
Featured image: SpaceX’s Axiom-1 Mission splashdown