A capsule thrown out of a spacecraft returned to Earth on Sunday and returned experimental samples from the International Space Station in the first such mission for Japan.
The Japanese Space Research Bureau said the capsule, measuring 84 centimeters in width and 66 cm in height, made a parachute-supported splashdown in the Pacific near Japan’s Eastern Minamitori Island early in the morning and picked up later in the day.
(Kounotori7 departs International Space Station) [Photo courtesy of JAXA]
The capsule contains protein crystals cultured in experiments performed on ISS as JAXA says will be analyzed for medical purposes.
High quality protein crystals obtained without being affected by gravity will be helpful in investigating the causes of certain diseases and developing drugs to cure them, according to the authority.
The samples are transported Tuesday to JAXA Space Center Tsukuba in the Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, where they will be checked in the next few weeks.
In September, Japan’s cargo vessel Kounotori7 was launched on an H-2B rocket, which delivered the capsule and other deliveries to ISS.
The ship departed from the space station on Thursday and released the capsule on Sunday morning before it broke up with waste from ISS when it returned to Earth’s atmosphere, JAXA said.