NASA and SpaceX successfully completed their first contracted cargo space flight.
The Dragon spacecraft returned to earth on Sunday afternoon as it hit the pacific Ocean "a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico". Dragon is considered a critical element to keep NASA's space program going and being able to resupply the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA said that Dragon is being transported by ship to a port near Los Angeles where some cargo will be removed and will then be returned to SpaceX in McGregor in Texas. The cargo includes research samples collected by the ISS crew.
"With a big splash in the Pacific Ocean today, we are reminded American ingenuity is alive and well and keeping our great nation at the cutting edge of innovation and technology development," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Just a little over one year after we retired the Space Shuttle, we have completed the first cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Not with a government owned and operated system, but rather with one built by a private firm -- an American company that is creating jobs and helping keep the U.S. the world leader in space as we transition to the next exciting chapter in exploration. Congratulations to SpaceX and the NASA team that supported them and made this historic mission possible."
Dragon was launched on October 7 with a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. NASA said that it delivered 260 pounds of crew supplies, 390 pounds of scientific research, 225 pounds of hardware and "several" pounds of other supplies. On its way back, Dragon brought 1,673 pounds of cargo, including 163 pounds of crew supplies, 866 pounds of scientific research, and 518 pounds of hardware.