Friday, March 16, 2012

"60 Minutes" to Feature SpaceX

A preview clip of the "60 Minutes" SpaceX segment.

The CBS News program 60 Minutes is scheduled to telecast a segment Sunday March 18 on SpaceX and founder Elon Musk.

He's already the first private citizen to launch a spaceship into orbit and bring it back to Earth, so it's no surprise Elon Musk believes he will be the first entrepreneur to put a man into space, too. But as he vies with other, larger private sector companies to do so, he tells Scott Pelley the criticism of the commercialization of space travel from the very astronauts who inspired his quest is difficult to take. In an extensive interview, Musk talks to Pelley and allows cameras into his SpaceX factory for a 60 Minutes story to be broadcast Sunday, March 18 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

With the Space Shuttle program now retired, NASA does not have a vehicle to put Americans into space. The Obama administration has decided to farm out the next manned spacecraft to the private sector. Musk, the Internet billionaire who co-founded PayPal, has invested $100 million into his company, known as SpaceX, to compete for the contract. "I think we are at the dawn of a new era," he tells Pelley, about the government handoff of the manned orbital space program to the private sector. Does he believe his rocket will be the next American craft to put an astronaut into space? "I believe that is the most likely outcome," says Musk.

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