Falcon 9

SpaceX: Falcon 9 vertical on pad

Space Explorations Technology Corp., otherwise know as SpaceX, received the first FAA approved commercial spaceship reentry license from the agency on Monday.

In a statement released by NASA, the agency’s Administrator, Charlie Bolden, said that “With this license in hand, SpaceX can proceed with its launch of the Dragon capsule. The flight of Dragon will be an important step toward commercial cargo delivery to the International Space Station. NASA wishes SpaceX every success with the launch.”

SpaceX was required to obtain the reentry license before launching a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule into orbit next month for a test flight. After reentering the atmosphere, the Dragon capsule will splash down in the pacific ocean, near southern California.

In light of the impending retirement of the Space Shuttle fleet, NASA is looking at utilizing the transport capabilities of commercial enterprises. SpaceX is currently under contract, as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Program (COTS), to eventually help resupply the International Space Station (ISS).

After successfully completing all of the necessary flight and reentry testing, SpaceX will begin resupplying the ISS under a the NASA awarded Cargo Resupply Services contract (CSR), which has a minimum value of $1.6 billion. The company is expected to conduct at least 12 cargo flights to the ISS.