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: SpaceX picks up launch pace, sets April 27 commercial launch and May 5 Dragon pad abort test

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

Liquid crystal bubble OASIS in space

52 minutes ago

No matter how beautiful or crystal clear the bubbling waters of an oasis may be, they seldom lead to technology breakthroughs. Yet, NASA's OASIS investigation's bubbles may lead to an ocean of new improvements ...

Zapping away space junk

10 hours ago

Planet Earth is surrounded. Thousands of tons of dangerous space debris circle in low orbit, threatening serious damage, even death, if any were to strike the International Space Station. A proposal by a ...

Ariane 5's first launch of 2015

11 hours ago

An Ariane 5 has lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.

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.