The Federal Aviation Administration is going to issue the first-ever re-entry license to commercial company.
Space Exploration Technology is waiting on the government agency to issue the re-entry license for it to fly its Dragon capsule through the air, following a planned Nov. 18 launch from Cape Canaveral.
Aviation News is reporting that SpaceX plans to put the Dragon into a 34.5 degree-inclination, 190-mile orbit around the earth, where it will remain for less than four hours before re-entering the atmosphere and landing in the Pacific Ocean near Southern California.
It’s only a demonstration flight for NASA, but it represents a huge step forward both for the company and for commercial space exploration. SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. are the two companies with contracts from NASA to develop and demonstrate launch vehicles, and to fly cargo to the International Space Station.
The test will invove two orbits around the earth, and then the vehicles will re-enter earth’s atmosphere. The capsule will test operational communications, navigation, maneuvering and re-entry capabilities.