by JOE BABAR Staff Writer
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ship was sent off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 and was the first commercial flight to the International Space Station. The 178-foot rocket was launched from a pad just south of where NASA launched their old space shuttles, with the ashes of James Doohan, who played Scotty in the science fiction series “Star Trek”, and many others. Moments after, the Dragon Rocket was off to the space station as well, carrying 1,200 lbs of supplies. “Falcon flew perfectly! Dragon in orbit, comm locked and solar arrays active!!” tweeted Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX. NASA is looking into the future and investing in companies such as SpaceX for the future of space cargo and space visits. Musk is very proud of SpaceX’s success and is looking forward to more flights. SpaceX claims that soon they will be able to take tourists onto the Space Station and allow people to regularly visit, as if they are astronauts. “SpaceX sounds like the future of the space era,” said freshman David Angley. They plan to build space taxis to take anyone to the Moon, whether they are a NASA researcher or just an ordinary tourist. “That is actually really cool. It would be awesome to take a vacation on the Moon. I am looking forward to what people say about it,” said freshman Matt Benitez NASA contributed $400 million to SpaceX’s commercial space program, which includes three test flights of the Falcon 9 rockets. The U.S AirForce is closely studying SpaceX in hopes of introducing competition to launches of national security satellites later this decade. Before the launch of the Falcon 9 on May 22, engineers caught a problem and fixed it quickly and efficiently. The engineers found the problem to be climbing pressure in an engine chamber in the rocket. The engineers said that the problem was very minor and the rocket could have flown with or without the problem, but fixing it was the right thing to do. The Dragon rocket reached the Space Station the next day. While there, the Dragon will practice manoveurs and be testing its communications system for another day. “Everything is looking really good, I would count today as a success no matter what happens the rest of the mission” said Musk.