Named Ikhana, the drone flew to capture the splash down as Orion completed its first voyage to space - traveLling farther than any spacecraft designed for astronauts has done in more than 40 years.

The word Ikhana has native American origins and means intelligent, conscious or aware.Ikhana's infra-red cameras detected the capsule and the optical cameras then streamed the video to viewers at NASA and elsewhere.

The spotting by the drone helped the US Navy vessels move in faster to recover the capsule. The Ikhana is just one of NASA's many programmes that utilise drones, Popular Science reported. In 2013, NASA flew drones into an active volcano to study the effects of volcano-specific smog.

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