SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule splashes down off coast of Florida

The SpaceX cargo Dragon capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida south of Tallahassee on Friday night.

SpaceX did not stream the event but the space company confirmed the capsule’s safe return to Earth just after 11:30 p.m. It undocked from the International Space Station on Thursday.

“Splashdown of Dragon confirmed, completing SpaceX’s 22nd cargo resupply mission to the @space_station!” SpaceX tweeted.

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The capsule’s entire journey back to Earth took approximately 37 hours. It’s loaded with experiments.

The SpaceX Dragon was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center on June 3 and arrived at the International Space Station 16 hours later, delivering more than 7,300 pounds of supplies for the crew. Upon its return, it will bring material from multiple scientific investigations conducted in space.

Some of the scientific investigations Dragon will return to Earth include:

  • Lyophilization-2 examines how gravity affects freeze-dried materials and could result in improved freeze-drying processes for pharmaceutical and other industries. Freeze-drying also has potential use for long-term storage of medications and other resources on future exploration missions.
  • Molecular Muscle Experiment-2 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 studies how gravity affects the structure, composition, and activity of oral bacteria in the presence of common oral care agents. Findings could support the development of novel treatments to fight oral diseases such as cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis.