When you have more money than some small governments, you can make amazing things happen. Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, has given the space program that independent kick in the ass it needed to make it more exciting to the masses again, since contest-based reality television costs less to keep people interested. Speaking of things we can send into space…I digress.
Sunday marked the monumental return of the Dragon cargo ship, back from the first of 12 deliveries to be made to the International Space Station, under a $1.6 billion contract signed with NASA. It was launched three weeks ago out of Cape Canaveral, and though it had engine problems that ruined the chances of getting a prototype communications satellite into orbit, the actual cargo drop-off and re-supplying went smoothly. The ship was holding clothing, food, and other everyday items needed for those aboard the space station. Yes, ice cream was needed, and was brought.
While the delivery was important, much more exciting are the things the Dragon brought back to Earth. There were nearly 2,000 pounds of science experiment results and outdated station equipment. But the prize package comes in the form of nearly 500 frozen samples of blood and urine collected by station astronauts over the years. I’m guessing this is so these samples can be examined for space radiation or something like that, and has nothing to do with SpaceX’s fetishist-heavy payroll.
If it hasn’t already, the Dragon will be retrieved from the Pacific Ocean, where it landed after being released from the space station by a giant robotic hand (more fetish stuff), and loaded onto a 100-foot boat to be taken to Los Angeles en route to McGregor, TX, where everything except the medical samples will be unloaded. The samples get top priority off the ship.