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Private U.S. Spacecraft Returns To Earth

A private U.S. spacecraft has landed back on Earth after delivering supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).

The unmanned "Dragon" spacecraft splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean, a few hundred kilometers west of Mexico's Baja Peninsula.

It was reportedly carrying some 900 kilograms of science experiments and disused equipment.

"Dragon" is owned by the California-based company SpaceX.

Its visit was the first of a planned 12 deliveries to the station under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

The "Dragon" was launched earlier this month from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Since NASA retired its space shuttle program in 2011, the United States has had to depend on Russia to get its astronauts and cargo to the ISS.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP