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SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft’s Return Delayed To May 5, NASA Says

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The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is extending its stay on the International Space Station by four days, a NASA spokesperson told Tech Times. 

What's The Hold-Up?

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft's extended visit to the ISS is due to rough seas. SpaceX explained that it is unsafe for the shuttle to make a return today. The two organizations agreed to move it to Saturday, May 5. The SpaceX Dragon is expected to land in the designated Pacific Ocean splashdown zone, which is southwest of Long Beach, California.

4,000 Pounds Of Cargo

When the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft leaves the ISS, it will be bringing back 4,000 pounds of cargo to Earth. One experiment will include mice that lived in habitats created by the ISS. NASA revealed that scientists would look at the rodents to determine if living in outer space affected their bodies. Other cargo materials that are expected to return from space are a plethora of samples stored in special freezers. The samples that the ISS is sending back include animal and human tissue.

The Fruit Fly Lab-03 experiment is also expected to return to the planet. Scientists studied how the fruit fly contained over 75 percent of the disease genes found in humans. The research focused on how space affected the fruit fly's immune system and how it responded to infections. The Fruit Fly Lab-03 mission is vital because it would prepare future astronauts as their immune systems might struggle with extended space missions.

Enter The Robonaut

The final item that will return to Earth is NASA's robotic crew member, the Robonaut. NASA is expected to repair the humanoid robot and then send it back into space. Ever since astronauts decided to put legs onto the Robonaut in 2014, the robot experienced technical glitches, and the robot became a hindrance.

"Robonaut has had some issues with being able to power up on orbit and that's gone on for at least a year, maybe two. A lot of troubleshooting on orbit and a lot of analysis on the ground, they've concluded-that there's a short of some sort in one of the circuit boards, and they're going to need to bring it hope and repair it," said Pete Hasbrook, associate program scientist at for the ISS program to Space.com.

NASA Announcements

A former NASA employee, Dr. Ellen Stofan, just became the National Air and Space Museum's new director. Stofan is the museum's very first woman to lead the museum. She spent a majority of her career at NASA, where she studied rocks from Venus, Mars, and Saturn's moon, Titan. She left the space agency in 2016.

On April 26, NASA's Office of Inspector General released a report with suggestions on how the space agency should pay for sending its cargo to and from the ISS. Their findings found that the organizers' leaders spent too much money by employing three companies to bring items up to space. The OIG recommended that if NASA uses only one contractor, the move would save the agency $300 million.

Last month, NASA announced that it would partner with the European Space Agency (ESA) to head to Mars. The two organizations signed a letter of intent to bring samples of Martian soil back to Earth. The space agencies charted out three Earth-based missions and launching a rocket from Mars to complete their task. Once the soil is on Earth, a team of scientists will analyze it.

Tech Times reached out to SpaceX for a comment on this story.

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