NASA clears LA-based rocket company SpaceX for human transport mission

A file image taken from a rocket launch provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

SpaceX, a Los Angeles-based rocket company, was cleared Saturday to launch its first human transport mission.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration approved the flight to the International Space Station set for late 2017, but preparations could begin soon.

SpaceX, run by billionaire and Tesla founder, Elon Musk, joins Boeing in providing private commercial transport of astronaut crews into orbit.

NASA has relied on Russian rocket launches since retiring the space shuttle four years ago.

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