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NASA chief visits SpaceX headquarters

By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — Just weeks after SpaceX became the first private company to visit the International Space Station, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden toured the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.

He joined SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk in thanking more than 1,000 employees who helped design, launch and recover the company’s Dragon capsule in May following its trip to the space station.

“The International Space Station is the key to our human spaceflight efforts right now and SpaceX’s successful resupply demonstration mission helped ensure it can achieve its full potential,” Bolden said. “We look forward to Dragon becoming a regular visitor to the station.”

Bolden also came to see a prototype of a spacecraft that the company is designing to carry astronauts to the space station.

On Wednesday, Bolden and Musk visited SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas, where the Dragon space capsule that visited the space station is located.

The capsule made history May 31 when it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after delivering supplies to the space station.

The mission was considered the first test of NASA’s plan to outsource space missions to privately funded companies now that the U.S. fleet of space shuttles has been retired.

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