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Back From Space, The Dragon Hits D.C.

Jonathan Makiri/NPR
Dragon, the first commercial spacecraft to successfully return from orbit, on display in the nation's capitol.
Jonathan Makiri/NPR

You never know what you'll see on your lunch hour within a few blocks of the NPR headquarters here in Washington. Presidential motorcades make the rounds regularly, and we once saw the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile cruise by. But today was our first sighting of a commuter vehicle that had been to outer space and back. Last December the "Dragon" (above) became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully return from orbit.

On Thursday, the vehicle's makers at SpaceX were showing off the scorched capsule inside a party tent in city center. It's in town as part of the Federal Aviation Administration's Commercial Space Conference. — Deborah Franklin