National/World

SpaceX Dragon returns to Earth, ends historic trip

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The history-making Dragon spacecraft is back on Earth.

The unmanned cargo ship parachuted into the Pacific on Thursday, six hours after leaving the International Space Station. It brought back nearly 1,400 pounds of old gear.

The private SpaceX vessel is the first to return such a load since NASA's shuttles retired last year.

SpaceX guided the Dragon's descent through the atmosphere and splashdown off the coast of Mexico. A fleet of boats was in position, ready to receive the world's first commercial craft to resupply the space station.

It will take a few days to transport the capsule by barge to Los Angeles. From there, it will be trucked to the SpaceX rocket factory in Texas for unloading and inspection.

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