The Dragon cargo capsule owned by US company SpaceX on Thursday made a splash landing in the Pacific Ocean after a landmark mission to the International Space Station, NASA said.
"Dragon is in the water," NASA said after SpaceX informed the US space agency of a splash landing at 11:42 am Eastern time (1542 GMT), two minutes ahead of schedule.
The vessel was supposed to land 560 miles (900 kilometers) off the coast of Baja, California, according to NASA, though a more precise location was expected to come shortly from SpaceX.
"Splashdown! SpaceX Dragon capsule safely down in Pacific Ocean -- ending first mission by a commercial company to resupply the ISS," NASA said in a message on the microblogging site Twitter.
The safe return of the vessel followed a near flawless mission to deliver cargo to the $100 billion orbiting outpost, marking the first time a commercial outfit has sent its own capsule there and back.
NASA and US leaders have applauded the mission, which began on May 22, as a pioneering first step in the future of spaceflight, opening the path for private companies to take cargo and someday astronauts to the ISS.
The end of the three-decade US space shuttle program in 2011 left the United States without a means to reach space on its own, and has forced the world's astronauts to rely on Russia for rides to the ISS and back to Earth.
Source: AFP Global Edition