SpaceX Dragon spacecraft safely back on Earth

26 Mar 2013

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft just prior to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. Photo via SpaceX

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft has safely returned to Earth, five hours after leaving the International Space Station (ISS) today.

The unmanned cargo ship splashed down into the Pacific Ocean a few kilometres west of Baja, California, at 9.34am PST (2.34pm GMT) today, SpaceX confirmed on its Twitter account.

“SPLASHDOWN! At 9:34am PT, #Dragon splashed down safely in the Pacific. Welcome home!” the tweet said.

Crew members aboard the ISS released Dragon from the orbiting space lab this morning for its return to Earth. It arrived at the outpost three weeks ago, packed with supplies for the crew and ISS.

Dragon has brought back about 2,668 pounds (1,210 kilograms) of science samples from human research, biology and biotechnology studies, physical science investigations and education activities, NASA said.

A team of engineers, technicians and divers will recover the capsule and bring it back to shore. It will then be shipped to Los Angeles and from there will be driven to Texas for unloading, the Associated Press reported.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic