May 22nd, 2012
09:08 PM ET

Another giant leap?

What a week it has been for space geeks. And it's only Tuesday!

First we had a rare annular solar eclipse. Well, some of us did. Here in Hong Kong, the clouds refused to cooperate...

Now, SpaceX has sent its Dragon capsule on a path to the International Space Station. The Falcon 9 rocket lit up the dark Florida sky as it carried Dragon up into orbit.

AFP/Getty Images

Afterward, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted, "Falcon flew perfectly!! Dragon in orbit, comm locked and solar arrays active!! Feels like a giant weight just came off my back."

Musk also wrote, "Huge appreciation for @NASA, without whom we could not even have started, let alone reached this."

NASA has invested about $800 million toward developing space cargo transportation in the private sector. In addition to SpaceX, NASA also has a partnership with Orbital Sciences Corporation. Orbital could have its test launch to ISS late this year or early 2013.

SpaceX has now done what no other company has attempted. But big tests remain. And if all goes well, SpaceX will make history on Friday by berthing with the ISS. Success there would truly be a "giant leap" for commercial spaceflight.

What a week, indeed!

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