Elon Musk’s SpaceX accomplished another space first when its reusable Dragon cargo ship capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after its second successful mission to the International Space Station.
The commercial spacecraft completed its first mission in September 2014. Its second journey to the ISS began on June 3 when it was launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The ship took about 2,700 kilograms of supplies to the ISS and brought back about 2,000 kilograms of scientific samples as well as unneeded equipment.
Astronaut Jack Fischer tweeted a photo of the capsule’s fiery reentry, saying, “beautiful expanse of stars – but the ‘long’ orange one is SpaceX-11 reentering! Congrats team for a successful splashdown & great mission!”
SpaceX crews were waiting off Long Beach, Calif., to retrieve the capsule and unload its cargo.
The successful splashdown marks a new milestone for the company that hopes to dramatically drive down the cost of space operations through its reusable rockets and capsules.
In a minor setback Sunday, the company was forced to delay the launch of another satellite, but was to try again later Monday.