An unmanned capsule from Elon Musk’s Space X has splashed down successfully in the Atlantic Ocean after a short-term stay on the International Space Station.
The landing marks the end of the first orbital test mission as NASA looks to resume human space travel from US soil this year.
The Space X Dragon detached from the station at 2.30am EST (7.30am GMT), before landing roughly 200 miles off the coast of Florida at 8.45am EST (1.45pm GMT).
— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) March 8, 2019
A Space X rocket launched the 4.9m tall capsule from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida last week and the crew carried out a five-day mission on the International Space Station.
The mission brought 90kg of test equipment to the space station, including a dummy named Ripley kitted out with sensors to monitor how the flight would feel for a human.
The space station’s three-member crew greeted the capsule last Sunday, with US astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques entering Crew Dragon’s cabin to carry out air quality tests and inspections.
The successful test flight paves the way for Space X’s crewed test flight, which is expected to take place in June.
Musk’s company is in fierce competition with Boeing to become the first private company to launch humans into space on its own rocket.