SpaceX's Dragon cargo craft splashes into Pacific

By Brooks Hays   |   March 19, 2017 at 12:16 PM

March 19 (UPI) -- SpaceX's Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, its descent slowed to a safe speed by parachutes. The return to Earth ends the craft's four-week space station resupply mission.

"Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed, carrying @NASA science and research cargo back from the @Space_Station," SpaceX tweeted.

The craft was launched into space by a Falcon 9 rocket in February. Though its rendezvous with the International Space Station was briefly delayed, the craft eventually docked and its contents were unloaded by ISS crew.

The cargo ship delivered three tons of food, fuel and supplies, including several scientific experiments. The mission also offered SpaceX another chance to showcase its rocket landing technology. The Falcon 9 that launched the craft was safely returned to Earth just hours after its takeoff.

Once retrieved, SpaceX will haul the cargo craft to the Port of Los Angeles. The Dragon capsule contains blood samples and other sensitive scientific materials that must be transported to various NASA labs.

"Everything from stem cells that could help us understand how human cancers start and spread after being exposed to near zero-gravity, to equipment that is paving the way toward servicing and refueling satellites while they're in orbit will be on board," NASA wrote in a blog update.

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