Commercial Spaceflight Hits a Milestone

Boeing and SpaceX are slated to test-fly spacecraft, first for NASA and then the private sector

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When Chris Ferguson commanded the final space shuttle mission in July 2011, he and his crew members left behind something on the International Space Station: a small American flag that had flown on the first shuttle mission three decades earlier. “It will hopefully maintain a position of honor until the next vehicle launched from U.S. soil brings U.S. astronauts up to dock with the space station,” Ferguson explained in a call with President Obama during the mission.

“I understand it’s going to be sort of a ‘capture the flag’ moment here for commercial spaceflight,” Obama responded.

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