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SpaceX Dragon capsule returns from International Space Station

SpaceX Dragon capsule returns from International Space Station

A Space Exploration Technologies’ Dragon cargo capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, bringing back science experiments and gear from the International Space Station.

The spacecraft left the orbital outpost at 6:56 a.m. ET, and parachuted into the ocean about 225 miles west of Mexico’s Baja California at 12:34 p.m. ET.

“Recovery ship just heard the sonic booms from Dragon re-entry and has data transmission lock,” Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of the privately held company known as SpaceX, wrote on Twitter just before splashdown.

A minute later, recovery ship personnel reported seeing Dragon’s parachutes, Musk said.

“Recovery ship has secured Dragon,” Musk wrote. “Cargo looks A-OK.”

The ship will take the capsule to the Port of Los Angeles, near the company’s Hawthorne, California, headquarters, a journey expected to take about 30 hours.

Dragon’s return began 252 miles above Earth when astronauts aboard the station used a robotic crane to pluck the capsule from its berthing port and set it into orbit.

SpaceX flight controllers then stepped in and remotely commanded Dragon to fire its steering thrusters and begin the 5.5-hour journey home.

“It looks beautiful from here,” station flight engineer Thomas Marshburn radioed to Mission Control in Houston as the capsule flew away.

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