SpaceX Dragon cargo ship splashes into Pacific
Cape Canaveral, Fla. • The SpaceX Dragon capsule returned to Earth on Tuesday with a full science load from the International Space Station and a bunch of well-used children's Legos.
The privately owned cargo ship splashed down in the Pacific right on target, 250 miles off the coast of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, five hours after leaving the orbiting lab. The California-based SpaceX confirmed the Dragon's safe arrival via Twitter.
"Special delivery! Dragon now being recovered in the Pacific," the company said in a tweet.
The capsule brought back more than 1 ton of science experiments and old station equipment, as well as 13 toy sets of Lego building blocks that were used by space station crews over the past couple of years to teach children about science.
It's the only supply ship capable of two-way delivery. With the space shuttles retired, NASA is paying SpaceX more than $1 billion for a dozen resupply missions.
The unpiloted capsule will be shipped to Los Angeles arriving Wednesday night and then trucked to Texas for unloading.
SpaceX launched the capsule from Cape Canaveral at the beginning of March. Mechanical trouble delayed the capsule's arrival at the space station by a day.
SpaceX flight controllers at company headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., managed to fix the problem within hours.
Bad weather at mission's end in the Pacific recovery zone kept it in orbit an extra day.
SpaceX Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is run by billionaire Elon Musk, who made his fortune as a co-creator of PayPal. He also owns the electric car maker Tesla Motors.
This was the second flight of a Dragon to the space station under the $1.6 billion contract with NASA, and the third delivery mission altogether for SpaceX. The next flight is slated for late fall.