SpaceX is about to win a game of capture-the-flag started by Obama - Business Insider
• As two NASA astronauts prepare to return to Earth this weekend, SpaceX is poised to win a high-stakes game of capture the flag.
• President Barack Obama started the competition nine years ago, when his administration funded a public-private partnership program in which NASA would work with companies to send humans to space.
• SpaceX beat Boeing, the other company in the contest, to the first crewed launch: the May 30 flight of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
• The American flag flew on the first space shuttle and has stayed on the International Space Station since the vehicles stopped launching in 2011.
• Behnken and Hurley are now poised to bring the flag home.
When NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley return to Earth on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship, they'll be carrying an American flag with even more symbolism than usual.
The flag first rocketed to orbit on the inaugural space shuttle mission, STS-1. It was left on the ISS by the crew of NASA's final space shuttle flight in 2011, called STS-135, of which Hurley was a member. The idea was that the next astronauts to launch on an American spacecraft from US soil would return the flag to Earth.
But at that time, it wasn't yet clear which company would get there first, or which astronauts would be selected for that mission.
President Barack Obama tours the SpaceX commercial rocket processing facility with Elon Musk, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, April 15, 2010. NASA/Bill Ingalls ...
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