After a nail-biting outer space endeavor, SpaceX's Dragon today (May 31) splashed down into the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean, sending notable ripples of good vibrations throughout the expanding world of free enterprise.
The mission not only thrusted Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, into the annals of world history, but also its home base -- Hawthorne, a small, ambitious town in southwestern Los Angeles County that boasts a population of about 84,000.
Before the cargo transport, packed with 1,455 pounds of freight, connected successfully with the International Space Station on May 25, Hawthorne was already on the Hollywood map of stars, thanks to some of the technological and manufacturing town's celebrity core.
Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe lived in the city for the first six years of her life. NFL football player-turned-actor Fred Dryer was born in Hawthorne, as were Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson -- those three brothers collectively known as The Beach Boys, a rock band that made music history back in the 1960s with such popular hits as "Good Vibrations."
After SpaceX chief Elon Musk saw an image of the charred, yet intact capsule floating in the ocean, he said he thought, "'Welcome home, baby.' It's really great. It's like seeing your kid come home." [Space.com]
Shortly after its arrival at the space station nine days ago, astronauts removed some precious cargo from the spacecraft, including some of the remains of James Doohan's, the Canadian actor best known for his memorable role as "Scotty" in the television and film series, "Star Trek." About seven grams of Doohan's ashes were released into orbit, as his last will and testament specified.
The Dragon was the first privately owned and operated spacecraft to join hands with the International Space Station, going where no other such entity has ever gone before.