The SpaceX CRS-17 Dragon spacecraft has returned to Earth splashing down in the Pacific at 21:48 UTC yesterday. The spacecraft carried 1,900 kilograms (4,200 pounds) of scientific research back to Earth after a one-month stay docked to the International Space Station (ISS).
The Dragon spacecraft departed from the ISS at 16:01 UTC on June 3. Just under 5 hours later, the spacecraft completed a deorbit burn firing its 18 Draco thrusters for approximately 13 minutes. Following the successful completion of the burn, the disposable unpressurized trunk section was jettisoned in preparation for splashdown.
After reentering the atmosphere and deploying its three main parachutes, the Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean 202 miles southwest of Long Beach in California. The successful splashdown completed the 17th SpaceX ISS cargo resupply mission for NASA.
Aboard the returning Drago was 1,900 kilograms (4,200 pounds) of scientific research. Included in the research was the Biophysics-6 experiment, MicroAlgae study, and the Genes in Space-6 investigation, which saw DNA edited using CRISPR/Cas9 technology for the first time in space. According to NASA, the milestone “advances understanding of how DNA repair mechanisms function in space and support better safeguards to protect space explorers from DNA damage.”
The next SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, CRS-18 is expected to be launched in early July. It will carry the third International Docking Adapter, the ELaNa 27 RFTSat cubesat, and supplies for the station’s crew.