Dragon capsule returns from ISS flight

Washington DC
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SpaceX's Dragon capsule has landed from its first operational flight, carrying supplies to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

The capsule, carrying 725kg (1,600lb) home from the ISS, splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and was recovered. Items returning on the capsule include experiments and blood samples from astronauts.

The splashdown marks a successful end to the first of 12 flights for NASA, ferrying supplies to and from the ISS. SpaceX became the first private company to dock with ISS during a mid-2012 test flight.

Fellow awardee Orbital Sciences is now preparing to launch its first test flight, with a commercial flight to ISS scheduled in 2013.

The capsule was launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle. During the launch, one of the rocket's nine engines failed, and though the Dragon was orbited, a secondary payload - a small experimental communications satellite for Orbcomm - re-entered the atmosphere several days later.