LOS ANGELES, May 19, 0:24 /ITAR-TASS/. The American cargo spacecraft Dragon has returned to Earth on Sunday upon completing a mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The pilotless capsule splashed down in the Pacific off the coast of California.
According to American SpaceX Company, which had developed the spacecraft, the capsule splashed down at pre-calculated time at 12:05, local time.
"Splashdown confirmed," SpaceX controllers stated. "Welcome home, Dragon!"
At the splashdown point, ships chartered by the SpaceX awaited the capsule in order to bring it to a port located not far from Los Angeles.
The Dragon had been launched into space on April 18 by means of the Falcon-9 rocket from the US Air Force base next to the space port on Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft had delivered almost 2.5 tonnes of food, prime necessities, a new spacesuit and materials for scientific experiments to the ISS. On its return flight, the spacecraft brought more than 1.5 tonnes of cargo, including the results of science experiments, a faulty spacesuit and various equipment.
An agreement between NASA and SpaceX provides for 12 missions for the delivery of supplies to the ISS. The contract is estimated at $1.6 billion.
The Dragon is the world's only reusable commercial spacecraft.