SpaceX Dragon to transform science back to Earth

eAwaz Lifestyle

Washington – Nasa has said an upgraded SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft – a key science experiments returns from the space station through NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle. The space experiments include ‘Cardinal Heart’, which studies how changes in gravity affect cardiovascular cells at the cellular and tissue level using 3D engineered heart tissues, a type of tissue chip. The SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft carrying out the company’s 21st commercial resupply services (CRS-21) mission for NASA will undock from the International Space Station (ISS), heading for splashdown off the coast of Florida about 12 hours later.
Kennedy Space Center utilisation project manager, Jennifer Wahlberg, has said: “Sending science up to space and then receiving it again on the runway was definitely something in the shuttle days that we really took pride in, and being able to rejoin that process is great.” Results from this investigation could show advantages of using microgravity for cutting-edge developments in regenerative medicine and may contribute to the establishment of technologies needed to create artificial organs, NASA said. At least 40 per cent of astronauts experience vision impairment known as Spaceflight-Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) on long-duration spaceflights, which could adversely affect mission success.
Nasa added: “The large amount of science returning to Earth on this mission is possible thanks to upgrades to the SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft, which has double the powered locker capability of the company’s previous capsules.” Kennedy’s Research Integration Office utilization flight lead, Mary Walsh pointed out: “Using the previous Dragon spacecraft, it could take up to 48 hours from the time the capsule hits the water in the Pacific Ocean for it to be back in Long Beach, California. We then started distributing those samples about four to five hours after that. Now we are going to have early return science in hand and turn it over to researchers at just four to nine hours after splashdown.”