SpaceX’s cargo Dragon spacecraft sprayed into the Gulf of Mexico off the west coast of Florida around 1 p.m. 20:30 A Wednesday with 4,400 pounds of scientific research and other freight.
It marks the completion of SpaceX’s 21st cargo supply mission to the International Space Station. The company launched Dragon with £ 6,400 supplies on tow on a Falcon 9 rocket back on December 6th.
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The research material on board will be quickly transported to the Kennedy Space Center̵
Some of the science on board will contribute to research into “how gravity changes affect cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue levels using 3D-engineered heart tissue,” according to a NASA press release.
Other research as a result of the trip will examine “the benefits of using microgravity for groundbreaking developments in regenerative medicine” and “specific techniques for using a sextant for emergency navigation on spacecraft such as NASA’s Orion.”
This upgraded Dragon capsule allowed the mission to transport 20% more cargo than the previous version of the ship as well as increase the amount of science and research that had to be brought home.
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This Dragon spacecraft was also autonomously docked and disconnected at the International Space Station for the first time ever, when the robot Canadarm2 was used by astronauts to attach previous cargo ships.