The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was successfully released form the International Space Station and is now returning to the Earth, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said on Friday.
SpaceX Dragon arrived last July 20 carrying experiments, space equipments and supplies for the 6 crew members stationed at the International Space Station.
Once installed that should give NASA, which has up to now been reliant on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft, independent access to the ISS.
The recovery procedure calls for a crew to hoist the Dragon onto a ship and bring it back to port near Los Angeles. In the meantime, NASA astronauts ride in Russian capsules to the space station.
Dubbed as the SpaceX Dragon, the space capsule landed on the Pacific, just off Baja California coast in Mexico, according to Associated Press aerospace writer Marcia Dunn.
A SpaceX Dragon capsule returned to Earth on Friday with scientific gifts from the International Space Station. NASA said one of those experiments returned aboard Dragon is a heart cells study, which explored how microgravity affects human heart cells. Japanese scientists will remove their internal organs and harvest their sperm cells once the mice are back on Earth, then use the sperm to fertilize new mouse embryos. A cardiac cell experiment would like to analyze the impacts of outer space conditions to heart cells in a cellular level. The results of this study will help researchers better understand the effects of microgravity on DNA expression. It is the very first commercial spacecraft in history to be able to be a cargo carrier for space missions.
The cargo also contains research work from Mouse Epigenetics was also included, which was to throw light on the change in DNA of mouse’s offspring after its one month stay in Space.