SpaceX Vehicle Returns to Earth After Leaving Space Station [View all]
By Brendan McGarry - 2012-05-31T15:48:48Z
Space Exploration Technologies Corp.ís supply ship returned to Earth hours after leaving the International Space Station.
Closely held SpaceX, controlled by billionaire Elon Musk, on May 25 became the first company to dock a craft at the station. The feat was previously accomplished only by the U.S., European, Japanese and Russian governments.
The ship parachuted down and splashed into the Pacific Ocean at 11:42 a.m. New York time, about 500 miles off the coast of southern California. It returned with about 1,400 pounds of cargo.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration retired its shuttle fleet last year and wants the private sector to take over ferrying supplies and eventually astronauts to the station. SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, California, may begin regular resupply missions to the lab in September.