Private Company Gets Clearance For Rocket Launch

06.04.10 | FL News Team

A private company operated by the co-owner of PayPal is set to conduct its first rocket launch today near Florida's Kennedy Space Center.  Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX, will launch its 180-foot-high Falcon 9 test rocket.  NASA plans to use the rocket to transport cargo and possibly astronauts to the International Space Station.  A four-hour launch window for the rocket opens at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.

As NASA retires its shuttle fleet in the coming months, the government is looking to private firms to handle the space agency's share of I-S-S resupply business.  After flying test missions for NASA, SpaceX plans to start delivering cargo to the space outpost next year.  Friday's flight is part of a 400-million-dollar SpaceX program to design and fly discount rockets costing 50-million dollars each for governments, companies and research institutes.