A space taxi docking port bound for the International Space Station was launched into orbit by Elon Musk's company SpaceX on Monday, and the rocket that carried it successfully landed back on solid ground.
The unmanned Falcon rocket was successfully deployed from a NASA base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying over 2,000 kg (4,400 pounds) of supplies as well as the new docking system. The Dragon capsule was released from the rocket, which SpaceX then managed to land back on Earth -- the second time it has done so.
The Dragon capsule is expected to arrive at the ISS on Wednesday and the taxi port it is carrying will be used to dock spacecraft ferrying US astronauts to and from the ISS. A second port is due to be delivered in 2017.
"With equipment to enable novel experiments never attempted before in space, and an international docking adapter vital to the future of US commercial crew spacecraft, we're thrilled this Dragon has successfully taken flight," said Kirk Shireman, NASA's International Space Station Program manager in a statement.
This is SpaceX's second attempt at getting the docking system up to space station, after the first rocket with the port on boardlast year.