What kinds of private spaceflight are happening right now?
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How is NASA involved in private spaceflight?
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What is space tourism?
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Why does SpaceX get so much attention?
SpaceX is a particularly glitzy private space company, founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, who also founded PayPal, Tesla Motors, and other companies. In a sense, it's the Apple of private spaceflight: slick, heavily self-promoting, and beloved by a distinct brand of fanboy.
It's also made a huge amount of progress in developing private spaceflight in a very short time. In 2010, it became the first private company to successfully put a spacecraft in orbit and then return it to Earth. In 2012, it became the first to dock a spacecraft with the International Space Station, using its Dragon capsule as part of a cargo resupply mission.
Its plans are ambitious. In the short term, SpaceX is continuing to run supply missions to the ISS with its Dragon capsule. Additionally, its Dragon V2 capsule is one of two spacecraft (along with Boeing's CST-100) that will serve as NASA's replacement for the Space Shuttle starting in 2017, transporting astronauts to and from the station.
It's also breaking into the lucrative satellite-launching business and attempting to build a satellite-based internet service.
In the longer term, SpaceX wants to develop fully reusable rockets and capsules — to drive down the cost of space travel — and use them for all sorts of things, potentially including travel to private space stations and Mars.
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How is Boeing involved in private spaceflight?
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Are there private plans to go to the moon?
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Are there private plans to go to Mars?
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Is anyone trying to save us from asteroids?
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