SpaceX Launch May Mean Big Change; WATCH THE VIDEO - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

SpaceX Launch May Mean Big Change; WATCH THE VIDEO

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - For the first time ever, a private company has launched a spacecraft into orbit and then guided it back to Earth.

The capsule belonging to Space Exploration Technologies Corp. known as SpaceX  splashed down into the Pacific on Wednesday afternoon. It was launched three hours earlier from Cape Canaveral atop the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA ordered up the demonstration as a first step to handing over space station supply runs and, eventually, astronaut rides to private businesses.

Until now, only governments had managed to recover spacecraft re-entering from orbit. SpaceX's spacecraft, called Dragon, circled the Earth twice before parachuting into the Pacific upon command.
      
      (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)
   

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