Washington, June 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The first private spaceship, the Dragon, undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) Thursday, and landed in the Pacific Ocean.
The Dragon’s bell-shaped capsule plunged into the water about 400 nautical miles (740 km) southwest of Los Angeles at 1542 GMT.
Astronauts Andre Kuipers and Joseph Acaba detached the cargo craft that has brought back 600 kg of redundant items from the ISS to Earth, with the help of the station’s 17-metre crane Canadarm.
The spacecraft will be loaded on a vessel and taken to a port in Los Angeles. From there it will be delivered to SpaceX headquarters in Texas.
The Dragon cargo spaceship is owned by US company SpaceX which took four years to design it. In December 2010, the Dragon made its first flight into orbit and then successfully landed in the Pacific.
The second Dragon was launched May 22 from Cape Canaveral. On May 25, it docked with the ISS after a series of tests.
The US has been without its own transportation to the ISS since the space shuttles were retired last year. Rather than build and operate a government-owned replacement, NASA is investing in companies such as SpaceX with the intention of buying rides for its cargo — and eventually astronauts — on commercial vehicles.