It's two out of two for the Hawthorne-based space transportation company as its Dragon capsule landed safely after a mission to the International Space Station. This is the second time that a Space X capsule docked with the Space Station, though it's the first operational flight, part of a $1.6-billion NASA contract. Not everything went as planned - one of the nine engines on the Falcon 9 rocket shut down shortly after launch. As a result, a satellite that the rocket was carrying didn't reach orbit. Space X's next supply run is expected in January. From Florida Today:
The Dragon departed the International Space Station at 9:29 a.m. EDT when it was pulled from a docking port and then released by a robotic arm. A series of thruster firings moved the Dragon away from the outpost and adjusted its orbit before a planned 9-minute, 50-second burn at 2:28 p.m. initiated the spacecraft's descent through the atmosphere. SpaceX later confirmed that the "trunk" holding Dragon's solar arrays had successfully jettisoned, exposing its PICA-X heat shield. A pair of drogue parachutes followed by three main chutes were set to deploy within 10 minutes of the splashdown. A recovery team was to hoist the Dragon from the water onto the deck of a 100-foot ship for return to a dock in Long Beach, Calif.