happylunarnewyear writes "The first new rocket to be launched from the Cape since 2002 is assembled and upright on Launch Complex 40. Falcon 9 will undergo fueling testing and live firing tests before the launch occurs as soon as next month. The stakes couldn't be higher, either. The much politicized proposal for a change in direction for NASA, which includes scrapping the Constellation program in toto in favor of privatization and a new heavy lift vehicle, veritably rides on this rocket. If the launch goes well, the plan for increased reliance on privatized cargo missions and eventually privatized manned missions will soar with it. However if something goes wrong, those plans will come crashing to Earth along with Falcon 9. Given the stakes, this launch is one of the most important in recent history. From the article, 'President Obama's proposal to shift transport of US astronauts to the space station from government launchers to privatized ones could suffer politically if there's a high-profile problem with the first mission of the Falcon 9, by far the most talked-about newcomer vying for the opportunity.'" Reader FleaPlus contributes related news about NASA's proposed funding for scientific payloads on commercial space flights, which would be a huge boon to researchers.
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