By: Darrell Etherington of Tech Crunch
SpaceX has another historic achievement under its belt — being first to re-fly a commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station and back. The Dragon capsule it used on its most recent ISS resupply mission was used during a previous trip to ferry supplies and materials for scientific experiments to the orbital facility.
This Dragon capsule originally launched in September 2014, before being refurbished and used again on June 3. After docking with the ISS around 36 hours after launch, the spacecraft spent about a month at the station, where astronauts unloaded its payload.
Early Monday AM EDT, the Dragon capsule decoupled from the ISS and made three departure burns to begin its de-orbit. Then a few hours later, it completed its de-orbit burn, re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and deployed its chutes, splashing down as planned in the Pacific Ocean at around 8:14 AM EDT.
The good splashdown is another big win for SpaceX’s vision of reusable spacecraft, which will help decrease the costs of commercial space operations dramatically.