Re-enter the Dragon


SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 19:44 EST, February 10, 2015, 259 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, with nearly 3,700 lb of NASA cargo, science and first-of-its-kind technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station.

The Dragon spacecraft will be taken by ship to Long Beach, where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA. Dragon will then be prepared for a return trip to SpaceX’s test facility in Texas, for processing.

“The ability to resupply and return this critical research continues to be an invaluable asset for the researchers here on Earth using the International Space Station as their laboratory in orbit,” said Kirt Costello, deputy chief scientist for the International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Flight controllers in the Mission Control Center at Johnson robotically positioned Dragon safely away from its docking port earlier in the day, where it was released for its de-orbit maneuver, sending it on its way to a parachute-assisted splashdown.

Among the returned investigations were printed parts and hardware from the first technology demonstration of 3D printing in space. The 3D printer demonstration used relatively low-temperature plastic feedstock on the space station. The test phase ended with a printed ratchet wrench made with a design file transmitted from Earth to the printer.

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