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SpaceX 'Dragon' Returns To Earth From Space Station

The unmanned U.S. commercial cargo ship "Dragon" has returned safely to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS).

"Dragon," run by the private U.S. firm SpaceX, splashed into the Pacific Ocean late on May 18.

The spacecraft was bringing back nearly 2 tons of science experiments and old equipment for NASA.

NASA is paying SpaceX and another U.S. company, Orbital Sciences Corporation, to make deliveries to the ISS after retiring its fleet of space shuttles in 2011.

SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada have also been hired by NASA to develop ships capable of transporting people to the ISS, with a rollout expected in 2017. That would end the U.S. dependence on Russia's Soyuz capsules.

Russia has said it doesn't intend to use the ISS after 2020, meaning the United States would have to use other means of shuttling astronauts to the station.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP