The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft reentry splashdown has been a success after spending a month hooked up to the International Space Station.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, Russia may abandon the International Space Station due to United States sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. Although NASA plans on keeping the ISS alive until 2024, the Russian threat presents a problem because it is claimed that without Russia's continued help maintaining the ISS is impossible.
The SpaceX Dragon CRS-3 is an unmanned spacecraft that can deliver supplies to orbit by being launched in Cape Canaveral from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. In this case, the SpaceX Dragon delivered 5,000 pounds worth of supplies on Easter Sunday to the International Space Station and has been docked ever since.
But the SpaceX Dragon can also bring back supplies and other equipment back to Earth, as well. This return flight involved bringing down about 1,600 pounds of science cargo from the space laboratory. Marybeth Edeen, space station research integration office deputy manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, says the SpaceX Dragon reentry carried "biotechnology samples, biology studies, physical science investigations and human research," some of which will be completed back on the ground:
"While some of this data can be obtained by on orbit analysis, many analysis techniques have not been miniaturized or modified to allow them to be performed on orbit, which means sample return is the only way to obtain this data."This SpaceX Dragon video shows the capsule being released from the ISS by station commander Steven Swanson:
You can also check out a different video showing a time-lapsed sequence of events:
The SpaceX Dragon reentry occurred earlier today and the splashdown was announced as being a success as of 3:05 PM EDT. The capsule landed in the ocean off the coast of California where it was retrieved. Unfortunately, I can not find a video of the latest SpaceX Dragon splashdown, but an older video does show you what it looks like:
The SpaceX Dragon and the Falcon 9 rocket will continue to service the International Space Station for 12 resupply missions in all. SpaceX currently holds a $1.6 billion contract with NASA, although competitor Orbital Science Corp. will also be flying missions to the ISS.