A SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is set to return from the ISS on June 29, carrying over 3,600 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments, including the ESA’s GRIP chair and samples from various investigations. The spacecraft’s splashdown off the Florida coast will facilitate a quick transfer to NASA’s processing facility for analysis.
NASA is set to receive scientific research samples and hardware as a SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft departs the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, June 29.
The agency will provide live coverage of Dragon’s undocking and departure starting at 11:45 a.m. EDT on NASA Television, the NASA app, and online. Watch here:
Ground controllers at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, will command Dragon to undock from the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module and fire its thrusters to move a safe distance away from the station. Undock is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.
After re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft will make a parachute-assisted splashdown at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday, June 30, off the coast of Florida. NASA will not broadcast the splashdown.
Dragon will carry back to Earth over 3,600 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments designed to take advantage of the space station’s microgravity environment. Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the experiments to NASA’s Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, allowing researchers to collect data with minimal sample exposure to Earth’s gravity.
Scientific hardware and samples returning on the mission include the GRIP – Dexterous Manipulation in Microgravity chair used in the ESA (European Space Agency)-sponsored neurology experiments GRIP and GRASP (Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance: Reaching and Grasping). GRIP studies how microgravity affects the manipulation of objects, while GRASP provides further insight into how the central nervous system adapts to the microgravity environment. The experiments have been on the space station almost six years, and the final in-orbit tests were completed in early 2023.
Dragon arrived at the station on June 6 as SpaceX’s 28th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA, delivering more than 7,000 pounds of research investigations, crew supplies, and station hardware, including two IROSAs, or International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays. The spacecraft was launched on June 5 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA Kennedy.