By Kaite Boivin
The SpaceX Dragon capsule splashed into the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, five hours after being released from the International Space Station.
“It’s hovering above the Earth before landing off the coast of California,” David Saint-Jacques, Houston-based astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency, told Humber News.
The capsule landed a few hundred miles west of Mexico’s Baja peninsula.
It’s expected to take scientists and divers approximately 30 hours to recover the capsule, said NASA.
The reusable spacecraft is also the first commercial vehicle to successfully attach to the ISS, as it did last May.
On board, he said, is a load full of recent science experiments conducted by astronauts on board the ISS, like Chris Hadfield.
This capsule is the first of its kind able to return to Earth in a recoverable state, said NASA in a release.
The Dragon transported more than just equipment up to the ISS when it launched at the beginning of the month. Also on board were fresh fruit, like apples and notes from family members.
“Until SpaceX we had to rely on the astronauts fitting everything they could on their laps,” said Saint-Jacques.
“It’s very exciting news,” he said. It advances opportunities for research across the board.
The original release was originally scheduled for yesterday but had been postponed due to bad weather, reported CTV News.
In 2008 NASA announced a $1.6 billion contract for the Dragon capsule to make 12 trips to and from the ISS, with possibility for additional missions costing up to #3.1 billion dollars, outlined SpaceX.
At that time, NASA also announced the Dragon spacecraft would resupply the ISS when the Space Shuttle retires.