SpaceX Dragon capsule splash-lands back on Earth | News | DW | 31.05.2012
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SpaceX Dragon capsule splash-lands back on Earth

The first journey of a privately built spacecraft to the International Space Station has come to an end. SpaceX's Dragon capsule has splashed down into the Pacific Ocean as intended.

The unmanned spacecraft parachuted safely into the ocean off the California coast on Thursday as planned.

"Dragon is in the water," NASA said after the US company reported the landing at 11:42 a.m. Eastern time (1542 GMT), two minutes ahead of schedule and six hours after it left the International Space Station (ISS).

The capsule delivered food and clothing to the ISS during its nine-day trip. The Dragon was the first non-governmental craft to successfully dock at the ISS.

The mission has been acclaimed by NASA and US leaders as a success. It opens up the possibility for private companies to take supplies - and one day perhaps astronauts - to the ISS.

The end of the US space shuttle program has forced astronauts to rely on Russia to get back and forth between Earth and the ISS.

ncy/jm (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)