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American firm SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule has returned to earth after becoming the world’s first privately owned vehicle to visit the International Space Station.
American firm SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule has landed in the Pacific Ocean after a five-day visit to the International Space Station.
The capsule was recovered from the sea mid-afternoon Thursday and was on a barge headed back to shore, SpaceX tweeted.
According to the BBC, the unmanned craft - the world’s first privately owned vehicle to visit the ISS - was released from the ISS early Thursday after delivering food and other supplies.
A $1.6 billion contract between SpaceX and NASA is set to kick in upon the successful recovery of Dragon from the ocean.
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Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers tweeted a message once the capsule was released, writing: “Dragon smoothly undocked, moved out, released and on its way home.” According to the Associated Press, the vehicle left the NASA-controlled safety area around the ISS within minutes and came under the full jurisdiction of SpaceX’s team in California.
During the Dragon’s five days at the station, ISS astronauts repacked the vehicle with nearly one and a half thousand pounds of test materials, hardware and other cargo to be returned to earth, PCMag reports.
SpaceX has said that Dragon is the only cargo capsule that can transport a large amount of cargo out of the space station, as other vehicles are destroyed after leaving the ISS.
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