December 10, 2010
By Sarah Brown
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) brought its Dragon capsule down safely from low-Earth orbit Dec. 8, making it the first commercial company to re-enter a spacecraft from orbit.
The company launched the Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10:43 a.m. The unmanned capsule orbited the Earth at speeds greater than 17,000 miles per hour, re-entered the atmosphere, and parachuted back to earth, landing in the Pacific Ocean shortly after 2 p.m., SpaceX announced.
“Just the launch is difficult enough, but successful launch, orbit, and intact reentry have been accomplished by only a few nations to date,” said NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. “The SpaceX mission today is the first time an entrepreneurial enterprise has joined this very elite company of space-faring entities.” Successful re-entry from low-Earth orbit had previously only been accomplished by the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, and the European Space Agency.
The test flight was conducted under a NASA contract set up to encourage private industry to ship cargo to the International Space Station.
Pilot Types of Flying,
Cessna reports "strong deliveries" of the new TTx since being awarded an FAA type certificate in June, and Brazil has followed suit.
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
NetJets has added a new safety feature to its long-range fleet: a doctor who is always in.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.