SpaceX's 'secret' payload? A wheel of cheese

Dec 12, 2010 By W.J. Hennigan

In the historic launch of its Dragon space capsule Wednesday, Hawthorne, Calif.,-based rocket venture SpaceX didn't carry astronauts or cargo into outer space.

But it did transport a wheel of LeBrouere cheese.

The company, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., revealed Thursday that it lifted a "secret" payload into low Earth orbit aboard its cone-shaped Dragon spacecraft.

said the choice was a nod to the British comedy troupe Monty Python and its famous Cheese Shop skit.

In a news conference after Wednesday's launch, SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk refused to say what the secret was, fearing that the joke would overshadow the momentous feat in the next day's headlines.

The launch from , Fla., marked the first time that a private company has developed and lifted a into orbit and have it survive a fiery re-entry.

In a half-century of spaceflight only five countries and one intergovernmental agency have been able to launch a spacecraft into orbit and have it successfully re-enter the Earth's atmosphere: the U.S., the Soviet Union/Russia, China, Japan, India and the European Space Agency.

It also may have been the first spaceflight of cheese. The record books don't say.

Explore further: Up, up and away, in the name of science education

0 shares

Related Stories

US space capsule launch set for Wednesday

Dec 07, 2010

A US company has received the go-ahead to launch its first space capsule into orbit Wednesday, in a key test for the future of commercial space flight as NASA looks to end its shuttle program.

US company could try spacecraft launch Wednesday

Dec 06, 2010

An American company may attempt to launch its first space capsule into orbit as early as Wednesday, in a key test for the future of commercial space flight as NASA winds down its shuttle program.

SpaceX Plans Reusable Seven Person Capsule

Mar 15, 2006

SpaceX said it plans to develop a reusable capsule that could carry a crew of up to seven into low Earth orbit, making it a competitor to assume some of the tasks of NASA's space shuttle fleet after it is retired.

US private rocket readies launch in key space step

Jun 04, 2010

The privately-owned American firm SpaceX readied Friday for the first test flight of its Falcon 9 rocket, seen as a key step in developing commercial launchers to put people into space.

Recommended for you

Up, up and away, in the name of science education

10 hours ago

US researchers extol the virtues of high-altitude balloons for science education in a research paper published in the International Journal of Learning Technology. According to Jeremy Straub of the University of North Dakota ...

New plan proposed to send humans to Mars

11 hours ago

A new, cost-constrained U.S. strategy to send humans on Mars, could be achieved within projected NASA budgets by minimizing new developments and relying mainly on already available or planned NASA assets. ...

'Cause unknown' in SpaceX rocket blast

13 hours ago

SpaceX came up empty Monday in its search to figure out why an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket exploded minutes after blasting off from a NASA launchpad with a load of space-bound cargo.

SOFIA points telescope toward Pluto occultation

17 hours ago

The Stratosphere Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that makes celestial observations with its German-built 100-inch telescope. The telescope is enhanced to collect ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

lengould100
not rated yet Dec 12, 2010
Excellent. Albatross!!!
ElectricBuddha
not rated yet Dec 13, 2010
Which makes it the worlds first space aged cheese as it were
Husky
not rated yet Dec 13, 2010
In Holland we have the Edammer Cheese wich is shaped and legend has it, has been used as cannonballs during a siege, it wont be long before SpaceX will come up with their own cheesy Star Wars plan to knock out satellites with vacume hole cheese

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.