SpaceX capsule returns space station science to Earth

SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship is captured by astronauts at the International Space Station on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, a day after a GPS problem prevented the capsule from coming too close. (NASA TV via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A SpaceX capsule is back on Earth with a full load of space station science samples.

The Dragon cargo ship parachuted into the Pacific on Sunday off the Southern California coast. Astronauts set it free from the International Space Station 5 1/2 hours earlier.

The Dragon flew to the space station a month ago from the same Florida launch pad used for NASA’s Apollo moon shots. It took up more than 5,000 pounds of supplies and brought back just as much in completed experiments and used equipment.

NASA’s other supplier, Orbital ATK, plans to launch its own supply ship Friday, also from Cape Canaveral, Florida. That one, however, burns up on re-entry.

The space station is home to one Frenchman, two Americans and three Russians.