SpaceX Supply Ship Returns To Earth With Experiments And Cargo

The first round trip mission of the SpaceX Rocket which launched from NASA three weeks ago, will be returning to earth with blood and urine samples from astronauts aboard the International Space Station.  In addition to the samples, twenty-three experiments from students will be returned as part of an educational program.  The SpaceX Dragon Supply ship has been attached to the station for the past eighteen days.  According to the NASA website, “Dragon will return to Earth and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern California at around 3:20 p.m. EDT this afternoon”.  SpaceX is one of two private ventures contracted with NASA, to supply unmanned cargo deliveries. The other company is Orbital Sciences Corporation, based in Virginia, “which has a $1.9 billion contract for at least eight resupply flights using its new Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft, which are also designed to be disposable. The first test of an Antares rocket is set for later this year”.  Japan, Russia and Europe all have sent re-supply spacecraft to the space station but all of those crafts were built for one way journeys.  They burn up in the atmosphere after being released by the station.  These reusable ships are much more useful and should become the primary spacecraft  for sending supplies to, and returning cargo from, the International Space Station.

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