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Science-Filled SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Departing International Space Station Today

The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is pictured docked to the International Space Station’s space-facing port on the Harmony module on December 29, 2022. In the foreground, is the Dextre fine-tuned robotic hand attached to the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Credit: NASA

A U.S. cargo craft is being loaded with hardware and sensitive research samples for analysis on Earth before it departs the International Space Station today, January 9, 2023. The Expedition 68 crew members also had time on Monday for biomedical activities and lab maintenance ensuring the crew and the station continue operating in tip-top shape.

The SpaceXCommonly known as SpaceX, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company that was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, the company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. SpaceX's ultimate goal is to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>SpaceX Dragon resupply ship is poised to complete a 43-day stay attached to the station when it undocks from the Harmony module’s space-facing port at 5:05 p.m. EDTEDT is an abbreviation for Eastern Daylight Time, the time zone for the eastern coast of the United States and Canada when observing daylight saving time (spring/summer). It is four hours behind Coordinated Universal Time. New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, and the Kennedy Space Center are in the Eastern Time Zone (ET).” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>EDT today. NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity." Its core values are "safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion." NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, and Frank Rubio along with Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are finalizing the loading of about 4,400 pounds supplies and science experiments inside the Dragon. NASA TV’s live coverage of Dragon’s undocking and departure begins at 4:45 p.m. on NASA’s website and the agency’s app.

The crew will close Dragon’s hatch about an hour and a half before its departure today. Dragon will then orbit Earth until Wednesday when it reenters Earth’s atmosphere and parachutes to a landing off the coast of Florida for retrieval by SpaceX and NASA support personnel. NASA TV will not air Dragon’s return to Earth.

The quartet also split its day collecting and stowing a variety of samples as part of ongoing human research studies. The astronauts began the morning gathering their saliva samples and placing them in science freezer for later analysis. The foursome, with assistance from specialists on the ground, wrapped up the day drawing blood samples that will be examined back on Earth to understand how living long-term in space affects the human body.

The space station’s three cosmonauts focused mainly on orbital maintenance throughout Monday. Commander Sergey Prokopyev and Flight Engineer Dmitri Petelin serviced an assortment of life support and electronics components. Flight Engineer Anna Kikina charged video camera batteries and photographed electronics hardware inside the Zarya module.

Source: SciTechDaily