Dragon Spacecraft Returns Safely To Earth

By  //  October 29, 2012

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Carries Nearly A Ton Of Equipment Back Home


Loaded with more than 2,000 pounds of scientific experiments and equipment, the unmanned SpaceX Dragon spacecraft returned to Earth on Sunday splashing down in the Pacific Ocean near Baja California. (Image courtesy SpaceX/NASA)

The unmanned Dragon spacecraft loaded up with close to 2,000 pounds of scientific experiments and equipment from the International Space Station has been recovered from the Pacific Ocean in the first official commercial cargo flight to the ISS under a $1.6 billion agreement between SpaceX and NASA.

Dragon parachuted to a splashdown several hundred miles off the coast of Baja California on Sunday after being detached from the space station by astronauts using a large robotic arm.

Mission controllers from SpaceX successfully directed Dragon back to Earth from orbit about 3:20 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The spacecraft was loaded onto a 100-foot boat that will transport  it to Los Angeles and the eventually to McGregor, Texas.

In a press release, the creator and founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, expressed his satisfaction with the performance of the Dragon.

“This historic mission signifies the restoration of America’s ability to deliver and return critical space station cargo,” Musk said.

The Dragon also returned to Earth with a supply of time sensitive medical samples collected by space station astronauts throughout the last year.

The mission began with an evening launch Oct. 7 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and it docked with the ISS on Oct. 10 carrying more than 1,000 of cargo and supplies.

This was the second successful Dragon flight to the ISS. The first demo flight was in May.