SpaceX Successfully Launches Cargo Rocket to Space Station

The space shuttle might be history, but America's pursuit of the stars is still flying high.

Private rocket and spacecraft design firm SpaceX, headed by Tesla Motors  (NAS: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, made history on Sunday evening by launching the first official private mission to resupply  the International Space Station. The company's Dragon spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral in a launch Musk called "an unqualified success." It's the first of 12 planned cargo hauls to the station for SpaceX as part of a $1.6 billion contract awarded by NASA. SpaceX had previously made a launch to the station back in the spring, but that was a test flight  for the Dragon capsule.

If all goes according to plan, the capsule will dock with the space station on Oct. 10 and stay for more than two weeks before headed back to Earth  and a splashdown in the sea. Unlike supply capsules  from other major players in space, such as Japan and Russia, SpaceX designed the Dragon craft as a reusable module - inspiring hope at NASA of a new, privately funded era of American space exploration in the post-shuttle period.


SpaceX is the leader among several players in the private space-launch business, its notable competitor being Virginia-based Orbital Sciences (NYS: ORB) . The latter has also made strong headwinds recently, with the first stage  of the company's Antares rocket rolling out to the launchpad on Oct. 1. If tests prove well, Orbital plans to send its own Cygnus capsule to the space station in the near future - providing NASA with several options in the burgeoning space industry. The agency's already handed Orbital a $1.9 billion contract for eight unmanned cargo runs, providing SpaceX with a legitimate rival.

For now, SpaceX will enthusiastically embrace its nascent success. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell summed up the excitement  at the young company, telling the Associated Press: "[The Dragon is] driving its way to station, so that's just awesome."

The article SpaceX Successfully Launches Cargo Rocket to Space Station originally appeared on Fool.com.

Dan Carroll has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Orbital Sciences and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Tesla-Space X-and Elon Musk to save mankind!! Fun and fast paced new science fiction novel
A must read--God Shuffled His Feet—A Novel by Mark Ellenbogen
Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads.
Exciting fun novel with a humorous apocalyptic twist. Elon Musk-Tesla and Space X help save mankind from total destruction! Meet astronomers Ravi Najir and Sam Klein, two PHD doctoral students from Humboldt, California, about to have their world turned upside down----literally. The duo wins a $250,000 grant and a coveted year long viewing slot using the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the heavens. Little do they know that what they are about discover, will rock the Earth, their lives, and the heavens all at once!
High in the far reaches of space, up where the Crab Nebula is supposed to be, a new solar system has formed and Klein and Najir are about to discover it. Within minutes of accessing their chosen Hubble coordinates, two new celestial bodies are discovered where none existed before!!
Dubbing their discovery the Master Kush Formation; the two unlikely heroes are quickly rocketed to fame and glory over night. A new sun and a fully habitable blue-green planet have taken the place of the Crab Nebula. God plans to wipe the Earth clean and start over!!!
The clock is ticking and time is running out. Only a few will make it. The boys enlist the help of Elon Musk, Tesla and Space X to manage the technology and transport the saved. Do you have what it takes? Open up God Shuffled His Feet for the ride of your life!! Peppered with interesting trivia, thoughtful humor and some suspenseful science fiction God Shuffled His Feet will entertain while provoking some thought in the process.

October 08 2012 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply