About five minutes before splashdown, the three main parachutes billowed open. The orange and white striped parachutes, each 116 feet in diameter, slowed the spacecraft's descent to approximately 16 to 18 feet per second.A 185-foot working barge equipped with a crane, an 80-foot crew boat, and two 25-foot rigid hull inflatable boats are now steaming toward the capsule for recovery.
The Dragon is packed with 1,455 pounds of cargo that will be returned to NASA.
SpaceX last week became the world’s first privately built and operated spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station.
The test mission largely went without a hitch, SpaceX and NASA have said. The successful mission bolsters the prospects for SpaceX, which built the Apollo-like Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket that launched it to orbit.
Dragon's mission, which began May 22 when the Falcon 9 lifted off in the predawn hours from Cape Canaveral, Fla., is considered the first test of NASA's plan to outsource space missions to privately funded companies now that the U.S. fleet of space shuttles has been retired. SpaceX aims to prove to NASA that its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule are ready to take on the task of hauling cargo — and eventually astronauts — for the space agency.