The Terrestrial Return Vehicle, made by Intuitive Machines, will change all that. The TRV is a small, wingless capsule that looks a lot like the Space Shuttle or Boeing X-37B space plane, but without the stubby little wings.
The TRV will be loaded up with scientific samples, pushed into an airlock, and then shunted out into space by the Space Station’s Japanese-made robot arm. It will then return to Earth much like any other spacecraft, descending through the atmosphere, eventually deploying a drogue parachute to slow it down from supersonic speeds, and then a larger parachute to bring it safely down to a landing site in Utah.
The return to Earth will take about six hours. Because the ISS orbits the Earth about 15 times per day, the total delivery time should always be under 24 hours. This is significant because the International Space Station is home to many scientific experiments — and the samples produced by those experiments would much prefer it if they could be sent straight back to Earth, rather than waiting weeks for the next cargo ship.