Private rocket set for first space mission

SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral ends NASA's decades-long dominance and marks debut for commercial space operators.

    SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral ends NASA's decades-long dominance and marks debut for commercial space operators.

    For the first time in history, a private company plans to launch an unmanned rocket into orbit.

    People working near the Cape Canaveral on Florida's "Space Coast" are keenly awaiting Saturday's scheduled launch of the SpaceX mission.

    For some it holds a promise of employment in a region which has lost thousands of jobs since the shutdown of NASA's multi-billion dollar space shuttle programme last year.

    If all goes well, the Falcon 9 rocket's dragon capsule will become the first private spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station. Space X says they hope to send astronauts into low orbit by 2015.

    But some say space flight should remain a government-run endeavour.

    "There is one thing that everyone knows and that is that we are not launching manned flights at this moment and we can't," said former NASA employee Chris Milner. "And that's not good for our country and for the local area because that means there's still people out there looking for jobs."

    Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher reports from Cape Canaveral.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.