SpaceX prepares to launch first commercial flight to space station

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 11:31 in Astronomy & Space

In a major step towards space privatisation, SpaceX will send a Dragon capsule with supplies for the International Space StationIn the early hours of Saturday morning, a rocket is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on a mission to deliver a capsule full of supplies to the International Space Station.Such launches are unremarkable when government agencies are at the helm, but this flight is different. The launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon capsule is in the hands of SpaceX, the first commercial company to attempt a rendezvous with the orbiting outpost.This will be a momentous step towards the privatisation of space. Even a partially successful mission will strengthen Nasa's plans to hand industry responsibility for sending cargo and ultimately crewed flights to low Earth orbit, allowing the agency to focus on other missions.The launch, planned for 9.55am BST, is very much a test flight...

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