SpaceX mission completes return to Earth

May 31, 2012 at 2:27 PM
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HAWTHORNE, Calif., May 31 (UPI) -- The Dragon spacecraft of commercial space company SpaceX has completed its historic mission to the International Space Station, company officials announced.

The spacecraft splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean about 563 miles west of Baja California, Mexico, at 8:42 a.m. PDT Thursday, the company said in a release.

"Splashdown! Welcome home #Dragon!" the company tweeted.

The unmanned Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle in history to successfully attach to the ISS, delivering cargo and supplies.

Launched March 22 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the Dragon's mission was the first commercial undertaking of a mission type previously only undertaken by four governments: the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency.

The SpaceX flight was conducted under a 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services agreement with NASA to develop the capability to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station after the retirement of NASA's space shuttle fleet.

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