The Dragon capsule, developed and built by Hawthorne-based SpaceX.
It is T-minus two days and counting till liftoff of the first-ever privately developed spacecraft to visit the International Space Station -- and all of it was built inside a space hangar near you.
Scientists and space enthusiasts say a lot is riding on the upcoming flight, since it is sure to weigh heavily on prospects of future commercial-only space flights. SpaceX, founded by PayPal mogul Elon Musk in 2002, is a privately held company, and many hope it will fill the vacuum left by NASA’s recently ended space program.
The Dragon was taken for a spin in late 2010, circling the planet and returning safely, making SpaceX “the only commercial company to successfully return a spacecraft from orbit,” according to the company’s website. But this weekend marks the true test.