CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The Dragon spacecraft has left its parking spot at the International Space Station and is on its way home.
Early Thursday morning, space station astronauts set the SpaceX capsule loose after a five-day visit.
Earlier Thursday morning, astronauts unbolted the world's first commercial supply ship, the SpaceX Dragon, from the orbiting outpost. Then they used a robot arm to move it away.
The world's first commercial supply ship is due to splash down in the Pacific at midday, Eastern Time. It will aim for an area 560 miles southwest of Los Angeles.
On board are science samples and old station equipment.
The Dragon is due to splash down in the Pacific at midday, Eastern Time.
It will aim for an area 560 miles southwest of Los Angeles.
Last week, the California-based SpaceX became the first private company to send a cargo ship to the space station.
It's now on the verge of becoming the only supplier to return major items. The government-provided cargo vessels of Russia, Europe and Japan burn up on descent.
NASA lost the capability of getting things back when the shuttles were retired last year.
If all goes well Thursday, it will become the only supplier capable of returning major items.
By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
The Associated Press