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SpaceX Dragon to return to Earth with experiments, samples from ISS

CALIFORNIA (UPI) — A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is set to depart from the International Space Station Thursday to deliver NASA experiments and samples dating back as far as six years.

The spacecraft is scheduled to depart from the ISS’s Harmony module at about 12.05pm EDT Thursday under the command of ground controllers in Hawthorne, California.

NASA will provide live coverage of the Dragon’s departure starting at 11:45 a.m. EDT Thursday.

On its return journey, the spacecraft will carry more than 3,600 pounds of equipment, supplies, and scientific experiments, some of which have been on the space station for nearly six years with final in-orbit tests completed earlier this year.

Among the experiments being returned to Earth are the European Space Agency’s GRIP Dexterous Manipulation in Microgravity Chair, which examines how microgravity affects the manipulation of objects by astronauts.

The Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance: Reaching and Grasping (GRASP) experiment, which studies the effects of microgravity on the human nervous system, will also be carried aboard the Dragon.

In addition to experiments, the Dragon will ferry samples from the Monoclonal Antibodies, Myotones, and BioNutriets-2 studies back to Earth.

The Dragon was initially launched from Kennedy Space Centre on June 5 following a series of delays and arrived at the station on June 6 carrying more than 7,000 pounds of equipment and experiments, including two International Space Station Roll-Out Solar Arrays.

It is set to make a parachute-assisted splashdown off the coast of Florida at around 2.30am Friday. NASA will bring the experiments to their Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Centre.

NASA is preparing to recover scientific experiments and samples that will be ferried back to Earth from the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from Thursday to Friday. PHOTO: UPI SOURCE