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The return of the Dragon 🐉

The return of the Dragon 🐉

One month ago,
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station. Now it’s time for the Dragon to come
home. The return trip, a crucial part of its mission, brings scientific
hardware, data and experiments down to waiting researchers.

Check out a few
of the pieces of research taking that ride back to Earth.


A cinematic look at life and science
aboard the space station

You may one day get to
experience the product of The ISS Experience. A team is creating
a cinematic virtual reality (VR) film from footage taken during in space
covering crew life, execution of science and the international partnerships
involved on the space station.


Every week or
so, footage is transferred from the camera onto solid state drives – an
original and a backup – for storage and downlinking. One of each pair of drives
returns to Earth for editing and production.

Seeking Alzheimer’s understanding in

fibrils, a conglomeration of proteins that can build up in the body, are
associated with a number of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and
Parkinson’s diseases. The Amyloid

investigation assesses whether microgravity affects formation of these fibrils.


Samples exposed
to microgravity are coming back to Earth using a facility that maintains a chilly
temperature of -20°C. Teams on the ground must quickly retrieve the equipment
and keep the samples at -20°C until they are analyzed.

The SPHERES return home

Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, are
bowling-ball sized satellites used to study formation flying, control
algorithms and material science.


First sent to
the station in 2006, these satellites have been employed in a dozen different


The Dragon
brings back hardware from two recent experiments that examined the behavior of
fluids in microgravity, SPHERES Tether Slosh and SPHERES-Slosh.

From microgravity lab to manufacturing

The Fiber
Optic Production

investigation created optical fibers on the space station using a blend of
materials called ZBLAN to see whether making the fibers in microgravity has
advantages over the process used on Earth. ZBLAN optical fibers offer high
bandwidth for the telecommunications industry, and potential applications for
uses like laser surgery and environmental monitoring.


The fiber produced
on the space station is coming to Earth for testing to help verify previous
studies and guide future efforts to manufacture large volumes of such fiber in

Read more about the science returning on Dragon here!

For daily updates, follow @ISS_ResearchSpace Station Research
and Technology News
 or our Facebook. Follow the ISS
National Lab
for information on its sponsored investigations. For
opportunities to see the space station pass over your town, check out 
Spot the Station.

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