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FAA issues private spacecraft permit

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Nov 23, 2010
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued the first-ever license for a commercial spacecraft to re-enter Earth's atmosphere from orbit, officials say.

The license will allow the California-based company SpaceX to complete the first operational flight of the Dragon spacecraft during a NASA demonstration mission set for a Dec. 7 launch, Florida Today reported.

After its launch from Cape Canaveral atop a Falcon 9 rocket, the Dragon will orbit the planet twice before re-entering and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off Southern California.

"The flight of Dragon will be an important step toward commercial cargo delivery to the International Space Station," NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said in a statement.

"NASA wishes SpaceX every success with the launch."

SpaceX is working through technical issues related to the Dragon's first flight, company officials say.

NASA's possible launch of shuttle Discovery between Dec. 3 and Dec. 6 could affect mission preparations, officials said.

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45th Space Wing Launches NRO Satellite
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Nov 23, 2010
The 45th Space Wing successfully launched a United Launch Alliance-built Delta IV-Heavy Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle from Space Launch Complex 37 at 5:58 p.m. (EST), carrying a classified National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite. "The tremendous ULA, NRO and Air Force partnership once again delivered success," said Lt. Col. William Heuck, 5th Space Launch Squadron commander. ... read more

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