|January 04, 2021 |
MEDIA ADVISORY M21-003
NASA to Air Departure of Upgraded SpaceX Cargo Dragon from Space Station
The SpaceX Dragon that arrived to the International Space Station on the company’s 21st resupply services mission for NASA is scheduled to depart on Monday, Jan. 11, loaded with 5,200 pounds of scientific experiments and other cargo. NASA Television and the agency’s website will broadcast its departure live beginning at 9 a.m. EST.
The upgraded Dragon spacecraft will execute the first undocking of a U.S. commercial cargo craft from the International Docking Adapter at 9:25 a.m., with NASA astronaut Victor Glover monitoring aboard the station.
Dragon will fire its thrusters to move a safe distance from the station’s space-facing port of the Harmony module, then initiate a deorbit burn to begin its re-entry sequence into Earth’s atmosphere. Dragon is expected to make its parachute-assisted splashdown around 9 p.m. – the first return of a cargo resupply spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean. The deorbit burn and splashdown will not air on NASA TV.
Splashing down off the coast of Florida enables quick transportation of the science aboard the capsule to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center’s Space Station Processing Facility, and back into the hands of the researchers. This shorter transportation timeframe allows researchers to collect data with minimal loss of microgravity effects. For splashdowns in the Pacific Ocean, quick-return science cargo is processed at SpaceX’s facility in McGregor, Texas, and delivered to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Dragon launched Dec. 6 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, arriving at the station just over 24 hours later and achieving the first autonomous docking of a U.S. commercial cargo resupply spacecraft. Previous arriving cargo Dragon spacecraft were captured and attached to the space station by astronauts operating the station’s robotic Canadarm2. The spacecraft delivered more than 6,400 pounds of hardware, research investigations and crew supplies.
The upgraded cargo Dragon capsule used for this mission contains double the powered locker availability of previous capsules, allowing for a significant increase in the research that can be carried back to Earth.
Some of the scientific investigations Dragon will return to Earth include:
Thermal Amine Scrubber
Bacterial Adhesion and Corrosion
Learn more about SpaceX missions for NASA at:
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Stephanie Schierholz / Monica Witt
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