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Commercial space cargo carrier has successful splashdown

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (AP) A mission that marks the start of a new era in space travel has ended with an old-fashioned splashdown.

The unmanned SpaceX Dragon supply ship is back on Earth after a nine-day voyage to the International Space Station.

It parachuted into the ocean about 500 miles of Mexico’s Baja California. The capsule resembles the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft of the 1960s and 1970s — and its method of return is similar to the one used in those flights. A fleet of boats was in position, ready to retrieve the Dragon.

The world’s first commercial space cargo carrier was launched last week from Cape Canaveral, docking with the space station three days later. It returned with a half-ton of old space station equipment.

The billionaire founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, sent a Tweet that said, “Splashdown successful!” He added that the next version of the capsule will land with “helicopter precision.”

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