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In Brief

SpaceX Auctions Rocket Factory Tour for Charity

SpaceX unveiled its Dragon V2 spacecraft on May 29, 2014, showcasing a 21st-century space capsule built to carry astronauts into orbit. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk detailed aspects of the design that was developed in partnership with NASA's Commercia
SpaceX unveiled its Dragon V2 spacecraft on May 29, 2014, showcasing a 21st-century space capsule built to carry astronauts into orbit. SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk detailed aspects of the design that was developed in partnership with NASA's Commercial Crew Program. (Image credit: NASA/Dmitri Gerondidakis)

The private spaceflight company SpaceX is opening its doors to a lucky person with cash to spare for charity.

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell is partnering with the charity auction site Charitybuzz.com to offer bidders the chance to tour SpaceX's facilities in Hawthorne, California. The winner of the auction will also get a chance to meet with Shotwell during the visit. While there will only be one overall winner, that person can invite nine other people to join in on the tour.

"The lucky winner and their guests will get to see Falcon 9 rockets being assembled, Merlin engines being constructed, a Dragon spacecraft in production and even a Dragon that has returned from space," according to a Charitybuzz.com description of the auction. "These tours are not available to the general public, making this an incredible opportunity that's not to be missed."

The highest bid currently stands at $6,250 with 10 days left to go before the auction closes. Money raised from the auction benefits the Women in Technology Foundation.

SpaceX's billionaire founder Elon Musk recently unveiled the new prototype of the manned Dragon spacecraft from the company's headquarters in California. The new Dragon, called Dragon Version 2, is designed to ferry up to seven astronauts to and from the International Space Station and other locations in low-Earth orbit.

SpaceX currently holds a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to fly 12 missions to the space station using their unmanned Dragon capsule. So far, the company has successfully completed three of those missions.

Learn more about the auction, which closes June 19, on Charitybuzz.com: https://www.charitybuzz.com/catalog_items/505504/

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Miriam Kramer
Miriam Kramer joined Space.com as a staff writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also serves as Space.com's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. You can follow Miriam on Twitter and Google+.