The FAA granted aerospace outfit SpaceX the first-ever commercial licence to reenter spacecrafts to earth from orbit. What it really means, however, is that SpaceX can finally start testing the reentry capabilities of the the Falcon 9 craft.
The Falcon 9 has been designed to commercially transport supplies and crews to the International Space Station, and the attached Dragon capsule would return safely back to earth with passengers. They’ve successfully tested the launching part, but they haven’t been able to test the earth reentry part…until now, that is.
If successful, SpaceX will be the first commercial company to safely recover a spacecraft from orbit, having only been accomplished by six other government agencies across the world. It would also go a long way towards them becoming NASA’s right hand man. But the other, itty bitty thing that makes these tests exciting is that it gets us all closer to the age of space tourism. [Space.com via Drudge]