6. The Private Spaceflight Era Begins

Enterprising companies are jostling to conquer the new orbital economy.

By Gregory Mone|Friday, December 21, 2012
RELATED TAGS: SPACE FLIGHT

On October 12, a 160-wheel transport carried the space shuttle Endeavour through Los Angeles at a stately two miles per hour. As the shuttle—the centerpiece of American space exploration for the last 40 years—paraded to its final resting place at the city's California Science Center, the future of spaceflight was orbiting overhead: Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) Corporation's Dragon, an unmanned capsule, was circling 240 miles up, delivering nearly 900 pounds of food, water, and equipment to the International Space Station.

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