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  (Source: orlandosentinel.com)
SpaceX said its space capsule's arrival at the ISS will mark "the beginning of a new era in space travel"

Throughout 2011, NASA retired its entire space shuttle fleet one by one, from Discovery's final flight in February, to Endeavour's last jaunt in May and Atlantis' final launch in July. But just because the space shuttle fleet is out of service, it doesn't mean that trips to the International Space Station (ISS) are done and over with.

Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, a California-based rocket maker that was founded in 2002, has announced that it is planning a test flight to the ISS in late November. It will carry supplies and equipment to the orbiting facility.

"SpaceX has been hard at work preparing for our next flight -- a mission designed to demonstrate that a privately-developed space transportation system can deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS)," said SpaceX.

SpaceX has only made one other space mission. It sent its "gumdrop-shaped" Dragon space capsule into orbit in December 2010. SpaceX ended up winning $75 million earlier this year for being the first private company to successfully launch its own space capsule.

According to SpaceX's website, it costs about $133 million for a full-up NASA Dragon cargo mission to the ISS.

"Together, government and the private sector can simultaneously increase the reliability, safety and frequency of space travel, while greatly reducing the costs," said SpaceX.

NASA gave SpaceX a launch date of November 30, 2011. Nine days later, the company's Dragon should be berthing at the ISS.

SpaceX said its space capsule's arrival at the ISS will mark "the beginning of a new era in space travel."




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