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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Dragon CRS-1 Splashes Down on Earth

 Dragon cargo capsule splashed down in Pacific Ocean. Credit: SpaceX
The SpaceX Dragon CRS-1 cargo craft that delivered about a half-ton of supplies and hardware to the International Space Station has now returned to Earth with more than 13-hundred pounds of scientific and other materials. Dragon splashed down (video) in the Pacific Oct. 28, 2012. SpaceX Twitter feed.
“This historic mission signifies the restoration of America’s ability to deliver and return critical space station cargo,” said SpaceX CEO and Chief Technical Officer Elon Musk. “The reliability of SpaceX’s technology and the strength of our partnership with NASA provide a strong foundation for future missions and achievements to come.”
The American Dragon spacecraft is the only one now capable of returning cargo from the space station among those now providing cargo services, e.g. Russia's Progress, Europe's ATV, and Japan's HTV vessels.

The internationally-sourced commercial Cygnus cargo spacecraft, operated by Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation, may experiment with NASA Langley Research Center "space brakes" - enabling it to return cargo to Earth perhaps in 2015.  But in the short-term, it too will burn-up on re-entry when it starts to fly cargo to the station early next year.

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