View Photo Gallery: NASA and a company called SpaceX are getting ready to send a rocket to the international space station, a launch that heralds a new strategy of relying on the private sector to deliver cargo — and eventually crews — into orbit.

It seems increasingly likely that SpaceX will be the first private entity to send a rocket to dock with the International Space Station.

As The Washington Post’s Marc Kaufman and Brian Vastag report, SpaceX, in collaboration with NASA, is “targeting” May 8 as the launch date for the company’s Dragon Capsule. It would be the first attempt to launch a privately designed and built spacecraft to dock with the station.

SpaceX was founded in 2002 by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. The reported billionaire has spent at least $100 million of his own money on the company. But, if the mission is successful, it could mark a great leap forward not only for SpaceX, but for commercial space travel in general.

Musk’s expenditure begs a question similar to one posed by astrophysicist Nel DeGrasse Tyson in March: If you had $100 million to spend, would you spend it on space travel?

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