Three... two... one.... Less than two weeks ago, SpaceX became the first privately held company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station, located 240 miles above the Earth. The unmanned capsule—named Dragon, and carried by the Falcon 9 rocket—took off on May 22nd from Cape Canaveral in Florida, arrived at the space station on the 25th, and landed in the Pacific Ocean on the 31st before heading back to Los Angeles via barge this past Tuesday, June 5 (Makes a cross-country drive seem like a very short trip).
You can watch the launch here:
This was the third successful test flight for SpaceX, which was founded by PayPal cofounder Elon Musk, and has approximately one billion dollars in funding. Of course, if all it takes is a billion dollars to send your own private rockets into space, it can't be long before a team of Masterminds schedules a launch.
You can watch a NASA video of the Dragon's journey here:
And, if you're really into it: the hour-long official launch webcast (skip to the last 15 minutes for complete post-launch coverage).
Of course, all trips to space must come to an end. The ocean landing, with the help of parachutes, can be seen here:
Watching the landing, sadly, is not nearly as exciting as watching the takeoff.
Until the next SpaceX mission... signing off!
Photo courtesy: SpaceX/Chris Thompson
If you were launching a rocket, what would you name it?