SpaceX's Dragon space capsule has returned to Earth, parachuting into the Pacific Ocean west of Baja California, Mexico, about six hours after it undocked from the International Space Station Tuesday.
The commercially owned spacecraft carried 12-hundred kilograms of science samples from experiments conducted onboard the orbiting lab. The U.S. space agency, NASA, says these samples include research that will help scientists learn about the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body.
Dragon is the only space-station resupply vehicle that can return to Earth carrying a significant amount of cargo.
The California-based company -- Space Exploration Technologies, commonly known as SpaceX -- won a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to fly at least 12 cargo missions to the orbiting station. This was the second official resupply mission.
NASA essentially acted as an investor in SpaceX as the company developed the reusable Dragon craft. The capsule is designed to eventually ferry human crewmembers to the International Space Station.