SpaceX Receives FAA License to Re-Enter Spacecraft from Orbit
[Satellite TODAY 11-24-10] The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation has issued SpaceX a license to re-enter a spacecraft from orbit, making SpaceX the first commercial company to be authorized to do so since the FAA was formed, SpaceX announced Nov. 23.
The license, valid for one year from the date of issue, was needed for SpaceX’s plans to launch its Dragon spacecraft into low-Earth orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket next month. The Dragon capsule is expected to orbit the Earth at speeds greater than 17,000 miles per hour, re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, and land in the Pacific Ocean a few hours later.
This will be the first attempt by a commercial company to recover a spacecraft reentering from low-Earth orbit. It is also the first flight under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to develop commercial supply services to the International Space Station and encourage the growth of the commercial space industry.