SpaceX’s Dragon capsule returned to earth Thursday, ending the historic mission for the first-ever privately owned rocket to launch into space and travel to the International Space Station. The capsule launched into space May 22 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and reached its climax last Friday when the robotic arm at the ISS pulled the Dragon in to dock. The station’s crew reversed the process Thursday, as the rocket splashed back down into the Pacific Ocean. SpaceX’s mission represents a new era in space exploration: Namely, one that is controlled by private enterprise as NASA focuses more on missions outside the earth’s orbit, such as to asteroids, the moon, and Mars.
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