In an interview with ABC News when he began the Falcon project, Elon Musk said his idea was to keep spaceflight simple -- a SpaceX rocket would be "more like a pickup truck than a sports car," he said. "Although the first flights might be very expensive, I think eventually the prices will reach a point where the average person in America can go to space."
Today, Dragon followed that recipe. It superficially resembles the Apollo spacecraft NASA first flew to the moon in 1968 -- a stubby conical capsule in front, with engines, fuel and power from a section strapped to the rear. SpaceX said Dragon was on its second orbit when it fired its engine to slow down, reenter the atmosphere, and splash into the ocean.
An unmanned Apollo ship first did that in 1966. But SpaceX has the advantage of far more sophisticated rocket engines, materials and computers.
"Splashdown on target. Mission is a success!" the company announced on -- what else? -- Twitter.
Additional reporting by ABC News' Gina Sunseri. The Associated Press contributed to this report.