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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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The Cost Is Still Staggering
By Super Speed Train on 8/19/2011 7:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
This is a great testimony to the power of private industry partnering with the US Government to do more with less. We would hope this project will lead to even more exploration in space as well here at home. No more than 10% of our Oceans have been explored - what would we discover if we went a little deeper and invested equal amount of money in deep Sea exploration? We also think a better relationship between high speed rail proponents and Goverment would help ease our transportation problems over the coming years. Unfortunetly the technology we are using to explore space is so primitive. It will take generations before we come any where close to realizing a return on our space exploration investment. Invest in the now

By notamuslim210 on 8/23/2011 3:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
Not so much staggering as low...

High speed rail = dangerous to large numbers of people with no benefits

Space exploration = dangerous to select group of volunteers with great benefits

Space benefits from the first space race include cordless powertools, mylar, thin insulation, industrial chemistry (including paints, coatings, and fabrics), micro-electronics development, ultra light materials development, and miniaturization, and a host of lesser known techological improvements which have vastly increased our technological knowledge and economic growth. High speed aircraft when they have a problem have wings and time to recover. High speed trains when they have a problem have nothing but damage to absorb and damage to give. Stick with trying to make trains of any type profitable for anyone outside of a close fitting city and maybe the high speed train will make a showing later.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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