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The nicely and carefully written question Have any animals that have been studied onboard the ISS come back alive? has an affirmative answer that applies to the space shuttle. Now that return to Earth comes in capsule form, have animals ever returned live to the surface - by design?

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    $\begingroup$ Not counting homo sapiens animals, I assume? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Feb 25 '17 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble I have heard that at least in the early days, the astronaut ecperience may have sometimes felt like being an experimental subject, but in this case I mean the ones riding as cargo, not with seats. :) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 25 '17 at 23:02
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    $\begingroup$ Did you see the commentary about the zebrafish on the linked question? $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Mar 1 '17 at 15:41
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh I agree it needs to be made into an actual answer, but I wanted to make sure that you saw the information that technically answers your question. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Mar 1 '17 at 15:54
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh But haven't you ruled out that interpretation by your very first comment above, where you restricted the question to animals "riding as cargo"? $\endgroup$ – TooTea Apr 23 at 7:11
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Yes.

A nice example would be the recent splashdown of the first SpaceX Dragon capsule to have been re-used after a previous visit to the ISS.

See for example Spaceflight Now's July 3, 2017 article Dragon capsule returns home with animals and station equipment:

Items stowed for Dragon’s return included live mice from an experiment to investigate the effectiveness of a therapeutic drug to promote bone growth, combating atrophy in astronauts in space and osteoporosis patients on Earth. The mice will be euthanized and examined after landing.


below: "The Dragon spacecraft was lifted onto a boat for a trip back to port in Southern California following Monday’s predawn splashdown. Credit: SpaceX" From here.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ "The mice will be euthanized" tough break after such a long journey for a mouse! $\endgroup$ – Sarah Bailey Jul 19 '17 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ @SarahBailey I couldn't think of a good way to point out the irony, "tough break" does it very nicely, thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 20 '17 at 2:22
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Rodent research is a big science objective for NASA. NASA and JAXA send rodents via Dragon and Cygnus capsules very frequently, and they are returned to Earth via Dragon re-entry.

[https://www.nasa.gov/ames/rodent-research]

[https://www.nasa.gov/ames/rodent-research]

[https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/np-2015-03-016-jsc_rodent-iss-mini-book-508.pdf]

[https://www.nasa.gov/ames/research/space-biosciences/rodent-research-12-ng-11]

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    $\begingroup$ All links go to 404 $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Apr 23 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ This is also what's called a link-only answer. Even if the links worked, there is no answer here, one would have to go off-site to get any real answer. Can you quote some short sections of each link that answer the question so that this becomes a stand-alone answer? Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 23 at 20:23

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