SpaceX's cargo Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the west coast of Florida around 8:30 p.m. Pacific time on Monday.

The Dragon, part of three commercial supply ships currently docked to the International Space Station, landed under its own power, a spokeswoman for SpaceX said.

The NetJets Boeing operated the cargo ship. About 15 to 15.5 metric tons of supplies and equipment were on board.

Four Chinese cargo ships have docked at the space station — the Wu Shere Ye 1, 2 and 3, along with the Shenzhou 6. More than 540 satellites are now mooring themselves to the space station, representing about one quarter of the entire international inventory.

There were no experiments or crew members on board the Dragon spacecraft when it splashed down.

SpaceX has set different dates for each cargo delivery, but operations at the International Space Station have been normal on Monday.

Authorities in Florida ended nearly 1.5 hours of wild night skies across the state but resumed Monday morning, activating emergency managers, clearing roadways and launching weather and cleanup measures.

"Meteorological experts will be on the moonlit tarmac now working to shore up initial damage from the enormous sideways beating of the ruptured separation funnel landing spring," said the Storm Center in Gainesville.

Four HH-65 Pave Hawk helicopters safely lifted the Dragon capsule out of the Gulf. Funding for the aerial-delivery operation was provided by NASA.

Officials across the service were keeping a very tight lid on the recovery effort.

The four Pave Hawk helicopters and a Guardian and two CH-47 Chinooks stayed in Texas, packing the Dragon capsule in bubbles with Towson Fearless Helicopters.

About 100 Cranberry Frigger Cowboys from Cumberland County and Muskoka Landing landed at Schneider Prairie in South-Central Minnesota, about 18 miles southeast of St. Cloud.

"We're keeping it very close in with Little Rock and St. Paul," said the Holstein-Family Airport property manager, Jerry Hines. "Meanwhile, it's prime real estate for golf, hunting, shooting in the arctic."

SpaceX has been a leader in the space industry and is the second largest commercial launch provider on the planet.

Its origins, however, lie in America's early space race — and its options for returning to Earth continue to increase along parallel fronts.

Three San Antonio built Falcon 9 rocket boosters exploded during liftoff last week, causing several million dollars in damage.

Two similar boosters touched down without mishap in
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