Well, this little girl's dreams came true today, sort of. As detailed in this NYT article, this afternoon Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX for short, successfully launched its first rocket into space. And SpaceX, if all go well, stands to gain an important role in space exploration.
Within a few months, SpaceX plans to launch a second Falcon 9 to demonstrate to NASA its capabilities before it gets the go-ahead to take cargo and supplies to the International Space Station. That flight will include a full version of the Dragon capsule, which can hold cargo and astronauts; Friday’s maiden flight held a mock-up of the capsule, aiming it for a circular orbit 155 miles from Earth...Flights carrying cargo to the space station are scheduled to begin next year. SpaceX has said it can build a version for astronauts in three years once it has a contract.
In one of the precious few good decisions he's made since taking office, President Obama has decided to turn the launching of astronauts over to private companies rather than increase NASA's funding. My hopes are high, but we'll see how the whole situation unfolds over time.
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