Historic: SpaceX Orbits Dragon Capsule en Route to Space Station Rendezvous
Commercial spaceflight is a go!
The SpaceX company made history as its Falcon 9 rocket rose from its seaside launch pad and pierced the pre-dawn sky, aiming for a rendezvous later this week with the space station. The rocket carried into orbit a capsule named Dragon that is packed with 1,000 pounds of space station provisions.
Night owls and eastern hemisphere nerds were able to watch a live stream of the countdown and historic flight, which seemed to run nominal from ignition to final engine cutoff.
The mission is to resupply the International Space Station as the first step under a contract with NASA, perhaps the beginning of a new era in manned spaceflight.
NASA is looking to the private sector to take over orbital trips in this post-shuttle period; several U.S. companies are vying for the opportunity. The goal is to get American astronauts launching again from U.S. soil. SpaceX officials say that could happen in as little as three years, possibly four.
Many congratulations and godspeed to SpaceX and their young employees. America has been waiting for this.