US private rocket readies launch in key space step

Jun 04, 2010
The SpaceX launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in April 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.

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.

SpaceX was early Friday awaiting the final go ahead from its engineers, with live images of the take-off from the Cape Canaveral base in Florida due to be shown on its website.

Lift-off is supposed to happen some time in a four-hour window between 1500 GMT and 1900 GMT. If the launch does not go ahead, SpaceX may try again on Saturday.

"Weather will be an issue today," SpaceX said of the launch, which is being keenly watched by the space industry.

President hopes the private sector will help fill the gap after the shuttle fleet is grounded this year, and before a new generation of is developed.

"Regardless of the outcome, this first launch attempt represents a key milestone for both SpaceX and the commercial spaceflight industry," the company said in a statement.

Obama has proposed spending six billion dollars over five years to help the private sector develop reliable and affordable launchers to transport cargo and US to the .

During the transition period, the United States will depend on Russian Soyuz rockets for access to the ISS.

If all goes according to plan, 10 minutes after its launch the 55-meter (180 foot) long Falcon 9 rocket, as tall as an 18-story building, will place the Dragon capsule into orbit.

Explore further: India tests long-range missile from mobile launcher

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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.

Falcon 1 Maiden Flight Scrubbed Until 2006

Dec 22, 2005

The SpaceX launch is scrubbed until early next year, as there is a structural issue with the 1st stage fuel tank that will require repair. SpaceX will provide further comment as soon as this has been carefully analyzed. ...

Recommended for you

Japan launches new spy satellite

2 hours ago

Japan on Sunday successfully launched a back-up spy satellite, its aerospace agency said, after cancelling an earlier lift-off due to bad weather.

NASA launches satellite to measure soil moisture

2 hours ago

NASA on Saturday launched a new Earth-observing satellite that aims to give scientists high-resolution maps showing how much moisture lies in soil in order to improve climate forecasts.

Going a long way to do a quick data collection

Jan 30, 2015

Like many a scientist before me, I have spent this week trying to grow a crystal. I wasn't fussy, it didn't have to be a single crystal – a smush of something would have done – just as long as it had ...

User comments : 0

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.