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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the LUCY spacecraft lifts off from Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Lucy, will observe Trojan asteroids, a unique family of asteroids that orbit the sun in front of and behind Jupiter. (AP Photo / John Raoux)

An Atlas V rocket blasted off before dawn, sending Lucy on a roundabout journey spanning nearly 4 billion miles. Researchers grew emotional describing the successful launch — lead scientist Hal Levison said it was like witnessing the birth of a child. “Go Lucy!” he urged.

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This undated photo made available by Blue Origin in October 2021 shows, from left, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner, Audrey Powers and Glen de Vries. Their launch scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket that Jeff Bezos used for his own trip three months earlier. (Blue Origin via AP)

William Shatner, 90, became the oldest person in space, eclipsing the previous record — set by a passenger on a similar jaunt on a Jeff Bezos spaceship in July — by eight years.

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This photo provided by SpaceX shows the passengers of Inspiration4 in the Dragon capsule on their first day in space. They are, from left, Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Sian Proctor. (SpaceX via AP)

Four space tourists safely ended their trailblazing trip to orbit Saturday with a splashdown in the Atlantic off the Florida coast. 

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The passengers of the Blue Origin enter the capsule near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (Blue Origin via AP)

Jeff Bezos blasted into space Tuesday on his rocket company’s first flight with people on board, becoming the second billionaire in just over a week to ride his own spacecraft.

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On Sunday, July 11, 2021, Richard Branson became the first person to fly into space on a self-funded ship. (WTTW News via CNN)

Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson on Sunday became the first billionaire to ride his own rocket ship to space. But beyond being the ultimate joyride for billionaires, will commercial space travel take off as an industry accessible to the rest of us?

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This May 29, 2018 photo made available by Virgin Galactic shows the company’s VSS Unity on its second supersonic flight. (Virgin Galactic via AP)

Swashbuckling billionaire Richard Branson hurtled into space aboard his own winged rocket ship Sunday, bringing astro-tourism a step closer to reality and beating out his exceedingly richer rival Jeff Bezos.

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This combination of 2019 and 2016 file photos shows Jeff Bezos with a model of Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lunar lander in Washington, left, and Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo space tourism rocket in Mojave, Calif. (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky, Mark J. Terrill)

The lucrative, high-stakes chase for space tourists will unfold on the fringes of space — 55 miles to 66 miles up, pitting Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson against the world’s richest man, Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos.

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In this May, 30, 2020 file photo, NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley, left, and Robert Behnken walk out of the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building on their way to Pad 39-A, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo / John Raoux, File)

Two NASA astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday in a dramatic, retro-style splashdown, their capsule parachuting into the Gulf of Mexico to close out an unprecedented test flight by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

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Mars visualization with satellite imagery overlay. (Kevin Gill / Flickr)

The SpaceX founder aims to create a fleet of reusable rockets that will make space travel dramatically cheaper and more accessible. But can he turn what has long been science fiction into science fact?

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An artist’s concept of an O’Neill cylinder. (Courtesy Blue Origin)

Could Jeff Bezos’ vision of giant rotating habitats one day support millions of people in space? We speak with two experts about humankind’s future in space. 

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SpaceX's Falcon 9, left, and Blue Origin's New Shepard. (SpaceX / Flickr, Franke360 / Wikimedia)

Last month, Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully landed one of its Falcon 9 rockets back onto its launch pad. In November, Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin landed its sub-orbital capsule New Shepard. Space enthusiast and Fermilab physicist Don Lincoln recently wrote a column on the Musk versus Bezos competition and shares his insights.

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After a 10 year, 4 billion mile long journey, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft made history today as the first spacecraft to go into orbit around a comet.