August 11, 2022

A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship will depart space station today with a ‘cytoskeleton’ on board. Here’s how to watch.

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Editor’s note:  The NASA TV broadcast above will begin coverage of SpaceX’s Dragon CRS-24 undocking at 10:15 a.m. EST (1515 GMT).

You can watch live Saturday (Jan. 22) as a SpaceX Dragon resupply ship gets set to rocket thousands of pounds of science back to Earth.

Coverage will start at 10:15 a.m. EST (1515 GMT) on NASA TV, the agency’s website, agency social media and here at Space.com. The Dragon cargo ship will undock about 25 minutes later at 10:40 a.m. EST (1540 GMT) and return to Earth on Monday.

Among the nearly 5,000 pounds (2,267 kilograms) of science on board will be a “cytoskeleton” that uses cell signaling to understand how the human body changes in microgravity and a 12-year-old light imaging microscope that is retiring from studying the structure of matter and plants in orbit.

While there will be no live coverage of the splashdown, the current target calls for Dragon to arrive somewhere off the coast of Florida around 12:44 a.m. EST (0544 GMT) on Monday (Jan. 24). Updates on splashdown will come through the space station blog.

A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship is seen approaching the International Space Station to deliver tons of supplies along with Christmas gifts and food for astronauts as part of NASA's CRS-24 cargo mission on Dec. 22, 2021.

A SpaceX Dragon cargo ship is seen approaching the International Space Station to deliver tons of supplies along with Christmas gifts and food for astronauts as part of NASA’s CRS-24 cargo mission on Dec. 22, 2021. (Image credit: NASA TV)

The capsule was originally targeting Friday to undock and Saturday to splash down, but the procedure was delayed by a day due to poor weather conditions for returning.

The Dragon spacecraft blasted off on its cargo mission, called CRS-24, Dec. 21 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and delivered both science and a set of early Christmas presents to the orbiting complex two days later.

Dragon is the only cargo ship that can fly scientific experiments back to researchers on Earth, as all other such spacecraft burn up in the atmosphere during re-entry. Dragon is often used to carry back biological samples that must be transferred to a scientific facility quickly; splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean will allow for rapid transfer of samples to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in coastal Florida, east of Orlando.

Members of the Expedition 66 crew have been packing up and organizing Dragon supplies for at least the last two weeks, according to NASA’s space station blog, including swapping out science freezer components that will host the precious refrigerated science samples.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook