UPDATE 1-SpaceX Dragon capsule returns from International Space Station

Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:45pm EDT
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* Capsule parachutes into the Pacific west of Mexico

* It brought back science experiments, old gear

* NASA hired two firms to fly cargo to space station

By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. March 26 (Reuters) - A Space Exploration Technologies' Dragon cargo capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, bringing back science experiments and gear from the International Space Station.

The spacecraft left the orbital outpost at 6:56 a.m. EDT (1056 GMT), and parachuted into the ocean about 225 miles (362 km) west of Mexico's Baja California at 12:34 p.m. EDT (1634 GMT).

"Recovery ship just heard the sonic booms from Dragon re-entry and has data transmission lock," Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of the privately held company known as SpaceX, wrote on Twitter just before splashdown.

A minute later, recovery ship personnel reported seeing Dragon's parachutes, Musk said.

"Recovery ship has secured Dragon," Musk wrote. "Cargo looks A-OK."   Continued...