"Welcome home, baby," said SpaceX's delighted chief,, on Thursday after the Dragon capsule has parachuted into the Pacific Ocean that ended up a successful mission of ferrying the first private delivery to the International Space Station (ISS) and pioneers NASA's new approach to space exploration.
The unmanned capsule parachuted into the Pacific approximately 805 km off Mexico's Baja California, bringing back more than a half-ton of old station equipment. It was the first time since the space shuttles stopped flying last summer that NASA got back a big load from the orbiting lab.
Splashdown came at 8:42 a.m. (11:42 a.m. ET), about two minutes earlier than expected, SpaceX and NASA reported. Musk was on hand at the company’s mission control center near Los Angeles as operators monitored the descent, and called the mission a “grand slam” in a briefing later Thursday.
"You can see so many ways that it could fail and it works and you're like, 'Wow, OK, it didn't fail'," Musk said.
“This has been a fantastic day,” Musk said, adding, “I’m just overwhelmed with joy.” He said recovery crews have reached the capsule and report it “looks really good.”