Private spaceflights aren't just for well-heeled tourists. The nascent commercial space industry is poised to revolutionize research as well
NASA may have lost the urgency of its 1960s moon race years, but today's commercial space sector looks to be recapturing some of that fervor.
Here's a rundown of the top 11 spaceflight stories of 2011, from the last mission of NASA's
Columbia disaster, NASA's human spaceflight program has been adrift.
On January 31, 1961, a brave 3-year-old chimpanzee was strapped into a capsule inside the Mercury Redstone rocket and launched 160 miles above the earth.
Looking up into the bright Mojave sky in 2004, I strained to keep my eyes on the tiny spaceship 50,000 feet up. "Three, two, one... release, release, release!" came the call over the loudspeakers.
Government satellites may start to hitch rides with commercial spacecraft in Earth orbit
The budget-busting James Webb Space Telescope could get extra cash from human spaceflight funds
Unmanned commercial spacecraft will soon begin making trips to the International Space Station