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SpaceX set to launch Dragon space capsule Wednesday

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SpaceX, the Hawthorne-based rocket venture, said it would attempt the first flight of its Dragon space capsule Wednesday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., after technicians completed repairs to a cracked engine nozzle.

The Dragon capsule, which is considered a contender for the job of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station after the space shuttle is retired in 2011, was slated to have its maiden launch Tuesday, but that was scrapped after engineers discovered the cracked nozzle.

The cone-shaped spacecraft will make the trip aboard SpaceX’s massive Falcon 9 rocket. Read more about it here.

The company, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., will be the first to attempt to recover a spacecraft reentering from low-Earth orbit. At this point, only five nations and one inter-governmental agency have tried: the U.S., Russia, China, Japan, India and the European Space Agency.

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SpaceX’s launch window Wednesday is open from 6 a.m. to 9:22 p.m. PST. The launch will be webcast from the company’s website.

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-- W.J. Hennigan


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