SpaceX rests near Waco after historic mission
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“The Dragon” returned to Texas after a successful trip to the International Space Station.
SpaceX's Dragon Capsule was on display in McGregor Wednesday after returning from a historic trip.
"This is our baby, back from space, and I feel like a proud father," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said.
The SpaceX made history May 25 as the Dragon Capsule became the first commercial spacecraft to dock at the International Space Station and bring home nearly 1,400 pounds of old gear.
"Now it's back here and intact and it doesn't look a lot different than when it left," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.
SpaceX now has a contract in place with NASA to upgrade the Dragon vehicle model into one that can carry people, something they believe is possible within the next three years.
"Providing a service to the ISS, which is what the President wanted us to do,” Bolden said. "He wanted NASA to get out of the business of access to lower earth orbit and hand it off to private industry that we're very confident can be done, and you've demonstrated that."
The McGregor facility employs more than 150 people and can test rocket engines in their entirety on this stand.
Musk says another main focus for SpaceX is making rocket reuse a reality.
"I think that really is the fundamental breakthrough that's needed to revolutionize access to space is a fully and rapidly reusable rocket," he said.
Musk says he was also meeting with the governor and state lawmakers Wednesday to talk about incentives and legal protection for a future launch site.
He says the south coast of Texas is the top candidate for a third site.
Musk also says the next spacecraft is almost fully built, and they are working with NASA for the right timing to launch, which could be within months.