WASHINGTON • The SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean yesterday, after more than six days in space, completing its demonstration mission for the US space agency Nasa (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).
"Good splashdown of Dragon confirmed!" the SpaceX account tweeted, with an image of the capsule showing its four main white and orange parachutes deployed as two boats sped towards it.
Live footage from Nasa showed the capsule's main parachutes opened without a hitch, completing a mission to demonstrate that it could reliably and safely carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Launched last Saturday from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, Dragon docked at ISS the following day before detaching early yesterday for its return to earth.
It represents the first private space mission to the ISS, as well as the first time a space vessel capable of carrying people was launched by the US in eight years.
SpaceX, founded by Mr Elon Musk in 2002, was selected along with the Boeing group by Nasa in 2014 to develop the next generation of space vehicles for US astronauts, after the 1981-2011 space shuttle programme.
Only a test dummy was aboard for the test, but the first manned flight aboard Dragon, with two astronauts, is set for July - a date that could be postponed until later this year.