Airfreight has recently taken an unexpected jump to space travel. On October 7, 2012 a privately owned cargo ship blasted off headed for the International Space Station. The cargo ship is to drop off thousands of pounds of supplies and return to earth with blood and urine samples, as well as other supplies. This is the first mission that is able to return materials back to earth. SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to execute 12 resupply missions to the Space Station.
Competition in the space travel sector is limited and the SpaceX is a unique ship because it is the only cargo ship that is able to bring back materials. Although other countries and US companies have began developing their own cargo ships. Other countries have made runs to the space station but are unsuccessful on returning with materials. SpaceX and NASA are working together to engineer a manned cargo ship that can also transport the space station crew back and forth.