TIME space travel

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returns to Earth With Space Station Research

SpaceX Dragon
In an image from video provided by NASA, the SpaceX commercial cargo ship Dragon prepares to leave the International Space Station on May 18, 2014. NASA/AP

The commercial cargo ship touched down in the Pacific Ocean Sunday with research samples that could help improve astronaut health. The Dragon, which arrived in the Pacific Ocean, will be retrieved by boats and taken to Los Angeles, then to SpaceX's McGregor, Texas facility

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship returned safely to Earth Sunday afternoon, NASA announced shortly after its arrival in the Pacific Ocean. Dragon touched down packed with more than 3,500 pounds of scientific samples and other cargo from the International Space Station.

Dragon will be retrieved by boats and taken to Los Angeles, California, then eventually to SpaceX’s McGregor, Texas facility. Some of its cargo, including frozen research samples, will be returned to NASA by Tuesday.

“The science samples returned to Earth are critical to improving our knowledge of how space affects humans who live and work there for long durations,” NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations William Gerstenmaier said in a statement. “Now that Dragon has returned, scientists can complete their analyses, so we can see how results may impact future human space exploration or provide direct benefits to people on Earth.”

The research materials carried by Dragon could help scientists to understand why antibiotics aren’t as effective in space as they are on Earth.

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