30/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 20:00

Private space capsule launched

Category: Technology

Published: 8th Dec 2010 15:46:59

A private US capsule that could soon be hauling cargo and even astronauts to the space station has launched on its first demonstration flight.

The Dragon ship launched from Florida on a Falcon 9 rocket at 1543GMT (1043 EST), with the aim of entering a circular orbit some 300km above Earth.

After completing a number of manoeuvres in space, the capsule will then target a splashdown in the Pacific.

Dragon and Falcon 9 are both products of California's SpaceX company.

It has a $1.6bn (£1bn) contract with the US space agency (Nasa) to provide 12 spacecraft with cargo capacity of at least 20 tonnes to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) through to 2016.

The initiative is part of a much wider American policy to place the carriage of freight and crew transport to the ISS in the hands of the private sector.

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BBC News, 2010. Private space capsule launched [Online] (Updated 8th Dec 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/114106/Private-space-capsule-launched [Accessed 30th Jul 2014]

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