Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Space-X Gets FAA License for Re-Entry Operations!

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial space transportation as well as regular aviation matters, granted SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) the one-year license on November 22, 2010.

In the Space.com article, it was mentioned that the FAA has issued 200+ license for commercial launches, but this is the first approval for a commercial re-entry operation.

This allows SpaceX to now test its Dragon space capsule (that is launched by SpaceX Falcon 9 booster into low-earth orbit). This will officially the the first attempt by a commercial company to recover a spacecraft from orbit.

First attempt to fly the Dragon space capsule and recover it will take place as early as December 7, 2010.

If this demo mission is successful, then SpaceX will begin making regular cargo-delivery missions to the International Space Station (ISS). Their fixed-price contract is quoted as having a value of $1.6 billion. The first missions will be unmanned.

Ref. Space.com "SpaceX Receives FAA License to Return Private Spaceships From Earth Orbit" By Mike Wall. November 23, 2010. (http://www.space.com/news/spacex-faa-license-private-spaceship-reentry-101122.html).

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