Space X's Falcon 9 rocket is prepared for a launch to the International Space Station February 17, 2017 at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on LC39A, one of the renovated Space Shuttle launch pads that SpaceX leases from NASA. / AFP / BRUCE WEAVER
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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was poised for a debut flight Saturday from a NASA launchpad idled since the end of the space shuttle program nearly six years ago.Originally built for the 1960s-era Apollo moon program, the Florida pad was refurbished for the space shuttles, which flew from 1981 to 2011 .Perched on top of the rocket is a Dragon capsule loaded with about 5,500 pounds (2,500 kg) of supplies and science experiments for the International Space Station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.Shotwell Friday dismissed a Government Accountability Office report this week that said SpaceX and Boeing, which also is developing a space taxi for NASA, have too many technical hurdles ahead to make their 2018 deadlines for station crew ferry flights.
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