SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule returns to Earth


The Dragon cargo capsule of SpaceX fell into the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California, and the recovery process of the craft is underway.

This is the company’s 11th cargo resupply mission sent to the International Space Station (ISS) for Nasa through a contract.

Expedition 52 astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of Nasa detached the Dragon cargo capsule from the International Space Station at 2.41am.

Several technological and biological studies returned to Earth in the cargo craft.

"The capsule also returned samples from the Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis."

Aimed to understand the effects of prolonged exposure to microgravity on the heart, the Fruit Fly Lab-02 experiment is carried on flies. As the flies are small, and age rapidly, they make good models to study the function of heart.

The study could significantly improve the understanding of how spacecraft impacts cardiovascular system. This understanding is essential to develop countermeasures to help astronauts.

The capsule also returned samples from the Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis, an investigation using rodents as models to test a new drug that can rebuild bone and block further bone loss. This study is considered essential to improve crew health.

The Cardiac Stem Cells experiment investigates how microgravity impacts stem cells and the factors that govern stem cell activity. This study is considered essential to better understand cardiac stem cell function.

The Dragon spacecraft was launched on 3 June on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The cargo craft reached ISS on 5 June.