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SpaceX to Launch First Private Craft to Space Station—Next Stop: Mars?

posted Apr 19, 2012, 9:08 PM by Michael Stoltz   [ updated Apr 19, 2012, 9:09 PM ]
By Brian Handwerk, National Geographic, 04.16.12

The SpaceX Dragon capsule is almost ready to become the first private spacecraft to visit the International Space Station (ISS), NASA and SpaceX officials announced today.

Following what's known as a flight-readiness review, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, aka SpaceX, is so far on course to launch the reusable Dragon aboard the firm's Falcon 9 rocket later this month, NASA said at a Monday press briefing.

But SpaceX founder Elon Musk already has his eyes on a bigger prize: putting people on Mars as quickly as possible.

According to Musk, all SpaceX ventures—including the Dragon mission—are being designed to advance this ambitious larger goal.

"I'm a big believer in humanity becoming a multi-planetary species," Musk said.

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[Image: SpaceX]