Space X, the rocket-maker set up by PayPal founder Elon Musk, has successfully launched its Dragon capsule, which is now heading towards the International Space Station. This could mark the first steps towards commercial space exploration.
The reusable Dragon capsule was on board Space X's Falcon 9 rocket, which took off from Cape Canaveral on Sunday night. This was the first of 12 cargo missions Space X will carry out for US space agency Nasa, as it moves towards using commercial partners for space missions.
“Just over a year after the retirement of the space shuttle, we have returned space station cargo resupply missions to US soil,” Nasa administrator Charlie Bolden, told a press conference.
Dragon will spend about three weeks docked with the ISS, and return with nearly twice as much cargo as it took up – including a stock pile of astronaut's blood and urine samples.
But the real excitement for Nasa will be the proof that private industry can help it reach for the stars.
“We've put our faith in American industry. Space X, as a private company, produced what you saw tonight, and that's private industry at its best,” added Bolden.
Space X president Shotwell called said Dragon had been put in to a “picture perfect orbit” following its launch. “That's just awesome,” she added.
Resetting the telemetry circuits and associated boards brought the instrument back to operations mode
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