SpaceX Dragon Returned to Earth Today – Space Station Crew Study Agriculture and Physics

The SpaceX Cargo Dragon supply ship is pictured departing the station in September 2021 during a previous cargo mission. Credit: NASA

A US space freighter returned to Earth today after undocking from the International Space Station on Sunday morning. Back at the orbiting lab, Expedition 66’s seven-member crew researched space agriculture and physics.

the SpaceX The Cargo Dragon supply ship completed its mission today returning more than 4,900 pounds of science experiments and station equipment to Earth for analysis and inspection. Dragon had undocked from the station Sunday at 10:40 a.m. EST.

Dragon fired its braking engines on Monday afternoon, dropping the freighter out of orbit and back into Earth’s atmosphere. The US spacecraft parachuted off the coast of Florida at 4:05 p.m. EST.

Meanwhile, space science continued in the orbiting laboratory as the crew explored a wide variety of present-day microgravity phenomena. A pair of preserved botanical studies ">Nasa Flight engineers Raja Chari and Kayla Barron busy with the duo investigating how to grow crops in space and how microgravity affects cotton genetics. ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer installed the hardware for the Fluidics experiment to study how to optimize fuel systems for spacecraft.

Maintenance is still ongoing aboard the station, ensuring the crew remains healthy and laboratory systems are operating successfully. NASA flight engineer Mark Vande Hei began the day disassembling and storing unused life support equipment, then photographed the payload racks to document their current configurations. NASA flight engineer Thomas Marshburn worked all day on batteries and chargers for US spacesuits.

Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov spent the day performing their additional science and maintenance in the Russian segment of the orbiting laboratory. Shkaplerov used a myograph to measure his muscle strength in microgravity before running air ducts inside the ISS Progress 79 cargo ship. Dubrov had some minor cleaning work after the spacewalk to do before swap fuel bottles inside the Built-in combustion grate.

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