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SpaceX Dragon Capsule Splashes Down in the Pacific Ocean

SpaceX Dragon Capsule on Falcon 9 rocket (Roberto Gonzalez/Getty)

Do you remember the Apollo missions?

Walter Cronkite hosting the coverage on CBS TV, they’d spot the orange and white parachutes carrying the space capsule floating to a spashdown in the ocean and they would hoist the ship on to the awaiting ship.

Reminiscant of those Apollo missions, the history-making gumdrop-shaped SpaceX Dragon capsule left the International Space Station and returned to Earth floating under three orange and white parachutes to a splash down in the Pacific Ocean at 9:42 MDT this morning, May 31.

The 19-foot-long Dragon made history last week as the first U.S. craft to reach the orbital station since last year’s retirement of the space shuttle fleet, and it made history today as the first commercial craft to return a shipment from orbit.

It brought back more than 1,600 pounds of non-essential Earth-bound shipments from the International Space Station after delivering it’s payload of a half ton of food, equipment, experiments and other supplies to the orbiting astronauts.

This test mission is expected to open the way for SpaceX to begin orbital cargo deliveries in earnest later this year, with 12 flights scheduled through 2016 under the terms of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

Reporting for KING FM, I’m Grateful Mike, Special Space Correspondant.

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