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Former astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Commander John Herrington has resigned from Rocketplane Global, an Oklahoma company which hopes to offer commercial space travel.
An American company planning to build a spaceport at Woomera in South Australia's north says a contract extension it has signed with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will help it raise money for the project.
Under the original contract, Kistler Aerospace agreed to conduct a test flight of its K-1 reusable rocket by spring, last year.
But the project has been on hold since the company filed for bankruptcy, with debts of several hundred million dollars.
Kistler's director Alan Evans says under American law, companies which file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy can keep operating.
He says the extended contract will enable Kistler to gain finance to complete the rocket which will be used to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
"Well it's about 80 per cent complete," he said.
"The remaining 20 per cent is principally data and systems verification, in terms of the physical aspects they're all completed."