Welcome home, Dragon! SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft returns to Earth after almost a month at the IS
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft reentered Earth's atmosphere carrying approximately 4,100 pounds of scientific research and hardware for NASA. Dragon successfully splashed down and was recovered in the Pacific Ocean by the SpaceX team a bit off the coast of California. Dragon will be brought back into port and will be transported to their HQ in Hawthrone, CA for unloading of the cargo and inspection of the spacecraft. This was the second time that this Dragon has been flown to space back.
Dragon launched on a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket back on December
15th, 2017 from Space Launch Complex 40 by SpaceX. This mission was the first time that NASA had agreed to use a flight-proven Falcon 9 booster, which previously supported the CRS-11 mission back on June 3rd, 2017. The first stage conducted a "Return To Launch Site" (RTLS) recovery where it flipped around and fired its engines back toward Cape Canaveral where it landed softly at Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1). The Dragon spacecraft was also flight-proven and had previously launched the CRS-6 mission which launched April 14th, 2015.
The Dragon Spacecraft launched approximately a total of 4,861 pound of more than 250 science experiments and research investigations to the International Space Station (ISS). These experiments are going to be conducted during Expeditions 53, 54, and 55. This is the 13th of the 20 missions that SpaceX is contracted to send to the station under NASA's Commercial Resupply System (CRS). This contract was awarded to SpaceX to send resupply missions to the ISS through 2024 under the second CRS contract which was announced back in January of 2016.