This week will see a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft depart from the International Space Station (ISS) and head back to Earth. Though the craft will be uncrewed, it will be packed with the results of scientific experiments performed on the space station.
The departure, scheduled for Monday, January 9, will be livestreamed on NASA TV so you can watch along from home. We’ve got the details on how to watch below.
What to expect from the departure
The Dragon, which arrived at the station in November last year as part of SpaceX’s 26th ISS resupply mission, originally carried 7,700 pounds of both supplies and scientific experiments. On the return leg of its journey, it will carry 4,400 pounds of completed scientific experiments, including the results of research into hydroponic and aeroponic methods for growing plants in space and into the use of microbes for potential medicines.
Included in the Dragon’s cargo will also be results from the Astrorad vest test, which is a radiation shielding vest that ISS crew members have been wearing to test for comfort and fit as they go about their daily tasks and sleep while on the station. Astrorad vests were also included in the recent uncrewed Artemis I mission around the moon, to test how effective they were at blocking the dangerous space radiation which future moon explorers can expect to be exposed to.
How to watch the departure
NASA will livestream the departure of the Dragon spacecraft on Monday, including coverage of the undocking from the space station. Coverage begins at 4:45 p.m. ET (1:45 p.m. PT) on Monday, January 9, with docking itself scheduled for 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT).
You can watch the livestream either by going to NASA’s YouTube page for its NASA TV channel, or by using the video player embedded near the top of this page.
The Dragon will travel back to Earth through Monday evening and all of Tuesday, and is scheduled to splash down off the coast of Florida on Wednesday, January 11. NASA won’t be livestreaming the splashdown, but if you want to follow along with the spacecraft’s progress then you can head to the NASA Space Station blog which will have updates at every stage of the mission.