SpaceX Dragon capsule returns successfully to Earth

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The SpaceX Dragon capsule has returned successfully from its third flight to the International Space Station, splashing down into the Pacific Ocean.

The Dragon capsule detached from its berth at the International Space Station early on 26 March, and fired its Draco thrusters to slow down enough to reenter Earth's atmosphere. SpaceX has confirmed a successful reentry, with splashdown around 250 miles off the coast of the Mexican state Baja California. The capsule will be recovered by a specially-equipped ship and brought back to the harbor at San Diego, California.

Splashdown was delayed a day due to rough seas.

The flight began ominously, with a nominal launch but problems developing shortly after spacecraft separation. The issues, apparent blockages in check valve lines that supply helium to three of the four thrusters, was quickly cleared, and the Dragon docked to the Station shortly thereafter.

The mission is SpaceX's second supply run for NASA, out of a total of 12 contracted. The Dragon has docked with the ISS twice before - once for the first supply mission, and before that for a test run.

 spacex

 Photo from Dragon's first mission ©SpaceX