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May 30, 2012 4:44 PM by Matt Stafford

World's first commercial supply ship ready for space station departure

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - The world's first commercial supply ship is closed up and ready for a Thursday flight back to Earth from the International Space Station.

Astronauts sealed the hatch to the SpaceX Dragon capsule on Wednesday. It's loaded with 1,400 pounds of experiments and old equipment for return to NASA.

In the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, the astronauts will use the station's robot arm to release the Dragon. The spacecraft will aim for a splashdown in the Pacific later in the morning, about 500 miles southwest of Los Angeles.

The California-based SpaceX is the first private business to launch a spacecraft to the orbiting complex. NASA wants to use the capsule to restock the station's pantry and eventually ferry station astronauts.

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