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SpaceX 'Dragon' wings back to Earth, splashes down in the Pacific

DRAGON LEAVING ISS

Photo credit: ESA/NASA

SpaceX "Dragon" smoothly undocked, moved out, released and on its way home on May 31, 2012.

Six hours after departing the International Space Station, the now legendary SpaceX "Dragon" parachuted back to its home planet and splashed into the Pacific Ocean. 

The unmanned cargo ship, returing from space with nearly 1,400 pounds of old gear, was launched last week by Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies, or "SpaceX," making history as the first private rocket company to fly cargo to the International Space Station.  

NASA, having made its last space shuttle flight earlier this year, is now relying on private companies like Space X to make those space runs. The world's first commercial supply ship was let loose by astronauts on Thursday after a five-day visit to the final frontier. 

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers described the experience via Twitter, writing that "Dragon smoothly undocked, moved out, released and on its way home."

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Security black hole? NASA hacked, laptop with Space Station codes disappears

Mars rover Curiosity

NASA/Paul E. Alers

A model of the Curiosity, NASA's most advanced mobile robotic laboratory, which will examine one of the most intriguing areas on Mars, is seen prior to a news briefing, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C.

In space, no one can hear you hack. 

NASA issued a report this week detailing startling breaches that suggest a universe of trouble in the agency's security department. 

Last year, NASA's Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory was attacked by hackers with an IP addresses originating from China. Intruders had full control of the networks, the report revealed, accessing NASA employee credentials, and opening sensitive files with the ability to alter, copy and delete. 

The report went on to disclose that NASA was the target of 47 such cyberattacks -- sophisticated, well organized, and well funded -- in 2011. But this is just the tip of the meteoroid. 

In total, the space agency suffered 5,408 information security incidents "that resulted in the installation of malicious software on or unauthorized access to its systems" over the course of two years, CNN reports.

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