SpaceX has been using its Dragon capsule to send supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) since 2012, but the eleventh such mission that launched on Saturday marked yet another milestone for the company. It was the first time a Dragon had been re-flown, and NASA has this morning confirmed that the recycled spacecraft arrived safely at its destination.
Dragon took off from Cape Canaveral on Saturday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket booster, carrying 6,000 lb (2,721 kg) of supplies. As has become pretty much standard for SpaceX, the Falcon 9 rocket then came down to land on SpaceX's Landing Zone-1 at Cape Canaveral. CEO Elon Musk had this to say on the matter yesterday.
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Re-using rockets is one part of the company's plan to reduce the cost of space exploration, and re-using spacecraft is another. The Dragon capsule in question first visited the ISS on a supply mission in September 2014, and it marked its return today when it was captured by the station's 57.7-foot (17.6m) robotic arm at around 9:50 am EDT.
The Dragon will be installed on the station's Earth-facing Harmony module, where it will remain for around one month before returning to Earth and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
SpaceX has also released a bunch of glorious photos of the launch and rocket landing, which you can check out in the gallery above.
Source: NASAView gallery - 14 images