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  1. SpaceX Dragon Successfully Completes Space Station Maneuvers, On Course for Docking Tomorrow

    In the wee hours of the morning, SpaceX's commercial Dragon spacecraft approached the International Space Station for a series of maneuvering and communication tests. The goal was to see how the spacecraft would perform in relatively close proximity to the space station. NASA is now saying that the Dragon has passed with flying colors, and the mission is good to continue.

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  2. Second Time’s the Charm: SpaceX Launches to International Space Station

    Commercial space company SpaceX has had a long road to this morning's launch to the International Space Station. The mission, originally planned months ago, has seen repeated delays and a frustrating automatic abort earlier this week. Today's launch seemed to make up for all of that, when the Falcon 9 rocket lifted flawlessly off the launchpad, carrying the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. 

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  3. SpaceX Launch Rescheduled, Watch It Here [Livestream]

    After a jarring last-second abortion on Saturday which was later blamed on a faulty engine valve, the SpaceX's rocket launch has been rescheduled to take place in the wee morning hours on Tuesday, May 22nd at 3:44 am Eastern Time. If you're interested enough to be awake at that time of day, you can watch the (hopefully successful already) launch on the livestream above. Until then, the feed will be playing various videos from NASA TV that you can check out. The upside is that those videos will definitely be happening. The downside? They don't necessarily include real-time footage of jets of flame. You'll have to wake up early to catch that.

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  4. Aborted SpaceX Launch Traced to Faulty Engine Valve [Updated]

    If you were amongst those that got up very, very early on Saturday to watch SpaceX's historic mission to the International Space Station, you were probably disappointed when the countdown hit zero but the rocket didn't go anywhere. Now, it seems that the issue at the heart of the aborted launch has been traced to faulty check valve. Crews are already working to fix the problem, but the question is if it can be done in time.

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  5. Watch the SpaceX Mission to the International Space Station Right Here [UPDATE: Launch Has Been Aborted]

    Blast off of the first SpaceX mission to the International Space Station starts in just a few minutes! See the livestream, after the break.

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  6. SpaceX Announces Partnership With Inflatable Space Station Maker Bigelow Aerospace

    A little over a week before SpaceX's planned unmanned mission to the International Space Station, the company has announced a new partnership with Bigelow Aerospace, makers of inflatable habitats for space. Though the deal may sound far-fetched, its a sign that the commercial space industry is maturing quickly an has an eye on the future.

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  7. How the United States Will Return to Space

    On July 21, the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed for the last time, ending three decades of missions in space. With the conclusion of the Shuttle program, the quest to restore the United States' ability to send astronauts beyond the Earth became far more urgent. Though NASA has been working on a new vehicle since 2004, it also began supporting a number of home-grown commercial space operations. As part of the Commercial Crew Development initiative, four companies have started work on spacecraft that will eventually carry astronauts to the International Space Station -- and perhaps beyond.

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  8. Elon Musk Says He Can Get to Mars for $500,000 a Person, But How?

    SpaceX's Elon Musk is extremely passionate about space travel, and especially so about Mars. It's no secret that he aspires to make SpaceX's Dragon capsule the first commercial vessel to land on the red planet.However, in an interview with the BBC he claimed that not only could he do it, but that it would only cost a passenger $500,000. While Musk acknowledges that the price tag is immaterial -- and conjectural -- he did hint at big news coming soon.

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  9. This is What the Inside of SpaceX’s Manned Dragon Spacecraft Might Look Like

    While commercial spaceflight company SpaceX prepares for its long awaited first unmanned flight to the International Space Station, their engineers are hard at work to create a crewed version of the Dragon capsule. Until now, there hasn't been much to go on except the volume specifications and the number of people slated to fly aboard. However, SpaceX recently completed its first NASA Crew Trial of a prototype manned capsule, giving us our first look inside the spacecraft.

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  10. Space Station Bound Dragon Assembly is Complete, Now it Just Needs a Launch Date

    SpaceX announced yesterday through their Twitter account that the privately held space launch company had completed assembly of the rocket they plan to send to the International Space Station later this year. The Falcon 9 rocket has been topped with the company's Dragon spacecraft, and was assembled in the SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral. Though originally slated for this month, the historic mission to the ISS has been delayed several times with a launch optimistically expected no earlier than March 20th. Personally, I can't wait for this dragon to fly.

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  11. SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Headed to ISS This February

    After becoming the first private company to send a vehicle into space and return it safely to Earth, SpaceX had planned to quickly become the home-grown connection for American astronauts and cargo headed to the International Space Station. However, those plans were put on hold during a crisis stemming from a failed Russian launch last August. Now, SpaceX is finally getting the clear to blast off again.

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  12. Historic SpaceX Flight to International Space Station Delayed Until December

    Private space company SpaceX has announced that the landmark flight of its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station will have to be postponed until at least December 19th, 2011. The flight, which would mark the first time a privately owned spacecraft docked with the ISS, was originally slated for November 3rd of this year. The Dragon flight is being rescheduled due to the uncertainty surrounding the safety of the Russian launch system after a Progress drone crashed during an automated resupply mission to the space station. It sounds like until the situation is resolved, and the spectre of leaving the ISS unoccupied subsides, the Dragon will have to take a back seat.

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  13. SpaceX Announces Plans for Fully Reusable Launch System

    In a recent announcement at the National Press Club, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced plans to develop an entirely reusable rocket system. The company's Dragon capsule, which could soon ferry astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station as part of NASA's fostering of private space industries, is already planned to be reusable. However, this new plan would call for the first and second stages of the rocket that carried the Dragon aloft to return to Earth in one piece. Reusability isn't exactly new to the space industry -- the Space Shuttle, for instance, boasted a reusable orbiter and solid rocket booster. However, Musk's bold plan would have a both the upper and lower stages of a two-stage rocket return to Earth, and land upright without parachutes.

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  14. A Pictorial Review of SpaceX's Eight Dragon Spaceships

    Last week, SpaceX gave us a look at the upcoming mission to the International Space Station -- the first of its kind for a privately operated company. The company is aiming to make history with its Dragon spacecraft, pictured right, due to lift off for the ISS this November. Just a few days afterward, the SpaceX twitter did a rundown of the eight Dragon capsules in existence. It's a fascinating look at how far the company has come, and a glimpse at SpaceX's near-term plans. Read on below for the past and future history of what  is looking like the next step for human spaceflight.

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  15. SpaceX Readies for Milestone ISS Mission

    With the Space Shuttle now retired, the privately owned company SpaceX is angling to become a major force in the American space industry. To that end, their Dragon capsule is slated to launch on November 3 on a bold mission to the International Space Station. From SpaceX:
    NASA has agreed in principle to allow SpaceX to combine all of the tests and demonstration activities that we originally proposed as two separate missions (COTS Demo 2 and COTS Demo 3) into a single mission. Furthermore, SpaceX plans to carry additional payloads aboard the Falcon 9’s second stage which will deploy after Dragon separates and is well on its way to the ISS. NASA will grant formal approval for the combined COTS missions pending resolution of any potential risks associated with these secondary payloads. Our team continues to work closely with NASA to resolve all questions and concerns.
    It's important to note that while NASA has not yet approved this combined mission, it has given the company a launch window and has voiced its support for speeding up Dragon testing. After all, the faster the Dragon comes together the less NASA will have to rely on Russia to put astronauts into space. The dual-nature of this mission is particularly interesting, perhaps showing signs of how SpaceX intends to make space travel into a business. After all, someone is probably paying for those "additional payloads."

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  16. What Was the SpaceX Spacecraft’s Secret Payload?

    Yesterday, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch a spacecraft into orbit and then guide it back to Earth. Propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX's Dragon capsule circled the Earth twice and landed unharmed in the Pacific. At yesterday's press conference following the mission's success, CEO Elon Musk revealed that it had carried a secret payload the whole time, but he wouldn't say what it was, only that "if you like Monty Python, you’ll love the secret." This led some to speculate that it was Spam. But it wasn't:

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  17. Photos and Video from Today’s SpaceX Rocket Launch

    This morning, private space flight company SpaceX successfully launched one of its Falcon 9 rockets into orbit from Cape Canaveral. You may remember that back in June, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9; this launch is a bigger deal because today's rocket contained one of SpaceX's Dragon capsules, which the company plans to load with cargo and ultimately people in future missions. (Today's Dragon was unmanned.) Following the launch, the Dragon is planned to circle the planet twice, then drop off in the Pacific 90 minutes later. Below, photos grabbed from SpaceX's livecam feed during the launch:

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  18. Senator Kay Hutchinson Gives Very Backhanded Compliment to Falcon 9 Launch

    Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senator from Texas, has responded to the successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket.
    This first successful test flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is a belated sign that efforts to develop modest commercial space cargo capabilities are showing some promising signs. While this test flight was important, the program to demonstrate commercial cargo and crew transport capabilities, which I support, was intended to enhance not replace NASA's own proven abilities to deliver critical cargo and humans to low Earth orbit. Make no mistake, even this modest success is more than a year behind schedule, and the project deadlines of other private space companies continue to slip as well. This test does not change the fact that commercial space programs are not ready to close the gap in human spaceflight if the space shuttle is retired this year with no proven replacement capability and the Constellation program is simultaneously cancelled as the President proposes.
    Right, because NASA has never missed a deadline.

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  19. Falcon 9 Launch a Success After All! (With Video)

    Crack open the bubbly: Despite earlier concerns over weather and some initial technical difficulties, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket has successfully launched and achieved Earth orbit. And they did it just moments before their 3pm deadline.

    It's too early to say whether SpaceX has collected the data from this that they were looking for, but the Falcon 9 success seems like great news for privatized space exploration, especially in light of NASA's budget slashes.

    Video after the jump:

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  20. SpaceX Gears Up for Falcon 9 Launch at 11am EDT; Delays a Possibility [Update: Success!]

    Starting at 11am EDT today, private space transport company SpaceX is going to take its shot at space flight glory with the test launch of its Falcon 9 rocket. Why is this a big deal? Well, the Falcon 9 is the first fully privately developed medium-capacity launch system, defined as being capable of lifting at least 2,000kg, but less than 20,000kg to low Earth orbit; all that have preceded it have been developed for national space programs. You may also recognize SpaceX founder Elon Musk as the co-founder of PayPal, or, alternately, as that guy who cameoed in Iron Man 2.

    While the SpaceX crew understandably have high hopes for their rocket, today's launch isn't a done deal:

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