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SpaceX Dragon returns to Earth, ends historic trip

SeattlePI.com
Thursday, 31 May 2012

SpaceX Dragon returns to Earth, ends historic trip
Associated Press
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Updated 03:04 p.m., Thursday, May 31, 2012

The unmanned supply ship scored a bull's-eye with its arrival, splashing down into the ocean about 500 miles (800 kilometers) off Mexico's Baja California. Thursday's dramatic arrival of the world's first commercial cargo carrier capped a nine-day test flight that was virtually flawless, beginning with the May 22 launch aboard the SpaceX company's Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral and continuing through the space station docking three days later and the departure a scant six hours before hitting the water. Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of NASA's commercial crew and cargo program, was emotional as he turned to Musk and assured him that NASA was now his customer and that resupply services were about to unfold on a regular basis. Musk, the billionaire behind PayPal and Tesla Motors, aims to launch the next supply mission in September under a steady contract with NASA, and insists astronauts can be riding Dragons to and from the space station in as little as three or four years. NASA astronauts are now forced to hitch rides on Russian rockets from Kazakhstan, an expensive and embarrassing outsourcing, especially after a half-century of manned launches from U.S. soil. SpaceX — or more properly Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — plans to hustle off a few returning items while still at sea to demonstrate to NASA a fast 48-hour turnaround. Aboard the space station is a small U.S. flag that soared on the first shuttle mission in 1981 and returned to orbit with the final shuttle crew.
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Source: Newsy.com - on May 31, 2012

News video: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returning Home From Historic Mission

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returning Home From Historic Mission

After becoming the first commercial craft to dock with the ISS, SpaceX's Dragon capsule is returning home with nearly 1,500 pounds of cargo.

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