The SpaceX Dragon capsule, which was launched to the International Space Station a month ago, has returned safely back to earth with 5,400 pounds of cargo and samples from important experiments.
At about 5 a.m. ET, the Dragon capsule was released from the Space Station. Approximately five hours later, the capsule re-entered Earth’s orbit. At around 10:45 ET, SpaceX confirmed that the capsule had successfully splashed down off the west coast of Baja, California.
While SpaceX will now be able to recover and prepare the capsule for a return trip to the Space Station, much of the cargo that it carried will be sent to NASA. That cargo includes samples from a number of experiments the scientists at the Space Station conducted, including the Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells investigation and the Tissue Regeneration-Bone Defect study.
“The Microgravity Expanded Stem Cells investigation had crew members observe cell growth and other characteristics in microgravity,” according to NASA’s website. “This information will provide insight into how human cancers start and spread, which aids in the development of prevention and treatment plans. Results from this investigation could lead to the treatment of disease and injury in space, as well as provide a way to improve stem cell production for human therapy on Earth.”
Similarly, the Tissue Regeneration-Bone Defect study, which is a U.S. National Laboratory investigation, explores why humans and other animals can’t regenerate bones and whether being in microgravity could actually allow for that regeneration.
“Results will provide a new understanding of the biological reasons behind a human’s inability to grow a lost limb at the wound site, and could lead to new treatment options for the more than 30 percent of the patient population who do not respond to current options for chronic non-healing wounds.”
You can watch the release process of Dragon here: