SpaceX Dragon Capsule Leaves Space Station for Ocean Splashdown

October 11, 2010 – 11:06 am
SpaceX's uncrewed Dragon flies far from the International Space Station as the capsule prepares to splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Feb. 10, 2015.
Credit: NASA TV

SpaceX attempted to land the first stage of Dragon's Falcon 9 rocket on the drone ship in the Atlantic in a reusable rocket test similar to the one the company is attempting today. The rocket stage landing wasn't successful. The Falcon 9 exploded when it crash-landed on the drone ship.

The Dragon capsule is currently the only robotic cargo spacecraft capable of bringing items back to Earth from the International Space Station. Other spacecraft, such as Europe's ATVs and Russia's Progress vehicles, deliver supplies to the station, but those vehicles burn up harmlessly in Earth's atmosphere after departing the laboratory.

Today will mark the end of SpaceX's fifth official supply run to the station once Dragon splashes down in the Pacific. The company currently holds a .6 billion contract with NASA to fly 12 uncrewed missions to orbit using the Dragon and Falcon 9.

The private spaceflight company Orbital Sciences Corp. also holds a cargo contract with NASA; however, Orbital's flights are currently on hold due to a rocket accident that destroyed one of the company's Cygnus spacecraft seconds after launching toward the station in 2014.

Quiz: How Well Do You Know SpaceX's Dragon Spaceship?

The spaceflight company SpaceX is one of several firms building private space taxis and cargo ships to launch astronauts and supplies into space. But there's more to SpaceX than meets the eye. Test your SpaceX know-how here.

SpaceX's uncrewed Dragon spacecraft is seen here just after leaving the International Space Station on Feb. 10, 2015.0 of 10 questions complete

The spaceflight company SpaceX is one of several firms building private space taxis and cargo ships to launch astronauts and supplies into space. But there's more to SpaceX than meets the eye. Test your SpaceX know-how here.

0 of questions complete

Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

AUTHOR BIO

Miriam Kramer

Miriam Kramer joined Space.com as a staff writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also serves as Space.com's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.
Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. You can follow Miriam on Twitter and Google+.

Source: www.space.com

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