NASA's SpaceX Dragon cargo freight is scheduled to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere on July 8, commencing a spectacular splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft carries approximately 5,000 pounds of scientific equipment and research results straight from outer space! Here are the details for its exciting return.
The SpaceX Cargo Dragon is a resupply ship used to send equipment and people to the International Space Station. Last June 5, it carried over 7,300 pounds of new science, supplies, and solar arrays to replenish the Expedition 65 crew. After nearly two months of docking, the spacecraft is now returning to Earth, carrying the precious research results and findings.
NASA SpaceX Dragon Cargo
The spacecraft is scheduled to leave the space station at 10:45 AM EDT on July 6. It is expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere and make its parachute-assisted splashdown at 12 AM EDT July 8. It will land off-coast of Florida, enabling quick retrieval and transportation to NASA's Space Station Processing Facility at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA said that the Dragon cargo will include scientific investigations such as:
- Lyophilization-2: It examines how gravity affects freeze-dried materials and could improve freeze-drying processes for pharmaceutical and other industries.
- Molecular Muscle Experiment-2: It tests a series of drugs to see whether they can improve health in space, possibly leading to new therapeutic targets for examination on Earth.
- Oral Biofilms in Space: It studies how gravity affects the structure, composition, and activity of oral bacteria in the presence of common oral care agents.
Where to Watch NASA SpaceX Dragon Cargo Splashdown
Unfortunately, NASA said they would only provide live coverage for the SpaceX Dragon Cargo from the International Space Station. It will not provide coverage for the actual splashdown of the spacecraft.
For viewers who really want to see the SpaceX Cargo Dragon splashdown, you can check on this NASA video to get an idea. The same spacecraft model, SpaceX Crew Dragon, returning from a Demo-1 Mission dated on March 9. The video shows a full live coverage of the spacecraft as it separates from the Orbiting Laboratory, re-enters Earth's atmosphere, and performs a splashdown on the Atlantic Ocean.
The video highlights a lot of exciting scenes. First, you can see the SpaceX Cargo Dragon undocking from the space station. Then, you can see the departure trajectory and travel of the spacecraft. After a timelapse, since the whole re-entry procedure takes more than five hours, NASA uses a high-powered camera to monitor the SpaceX Cargo Dragon's re-entry on Earth's surface.
SpaceX Cargo Dragon is seen burning brightly during re-entry. Later, the spacecraft is seen deploying two parachutes to reduce its speed abruptly. Lastly, SpaceX Cargo Dragon releases the smaller parachutes to deploy four of its main parachutes to land on water safely.
Although the live video feed for this incoming SpaceX Cargo Dragon splashdown is not filmed, July 6 to 8 are exciting days to watch out for fantastic space news!