Splashdown of Crew Dragon spacecraft. Image from NASA TV

The maiden flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft built by California’s SpaceX ended successfully with a splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday morning.

After leaving the International Space Station late Thursday and later firing its rockets to leave orbit, the reusable capsule re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and landed off Cape Canaveral at 5:45 a.m.

The first flight with astronauts is tentatively scheduled for July. NASA has already chosen Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley to fly on that mission.

Crew Dragon’s successful, five-day test is a major milestone in American space flight. The United States has not launched astronauts into space since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

SpaceX and Boeing were both contracted  by NASA to built human-rated spacecraft, with the Crew Dragon ready first. The initial flight of Boeing’s competing Starliner is scheduled for next month.

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