Patt Morrison for December 6, 2010

SpaceX flexes its muscles with its Falcon 9 demonstration launch

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Matt Stroshane/Getty Images

The SpaceX Falcon 9 test rocket lifts off of pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on June 4, 2010 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

NASA has decided to cut its in-house space shuttle program, but never fear – this doesn’t mark the end of U.S. space flight. Hawthorne, CA based company SpaceX has landed a 1.6 billion dollar contract with NASA to provide twelve spacecraft to resupply the International Space Station through 2016. SpaceX has set the date of its first of three demonstration launches for December 7th. The company’s rocket Falcon 9 will be sent into low Earth orbit where it will release SpaceX’s Dragon capsule to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere from orbit, a first time event for any private firm. So could this be the beginning of a space travel revolution? What does SpaceX’s attempt mean for commercial space flight?


Jeff Richichi, Director of Structural Design at SpaceX

Mat Kaplan, host and producer of The Planetary Society’s Planetary Radio, can be heard on 150 stations as well as Siruis radio and by podcast

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