Print 24 comment(s) - last by Vokus.. on Oct 4 at 6:56 AM

The fourth time is a charm for SpaceX, after successfully launching a rocket into orbit

Space Exploration Technologies, also known as SpaceX, successfully launched a commercial rocket into orbit carrying a dummy payload.  On the company's fourth attempt, the Falcon I vehicle headed into space after launching from Omelek Island with a 364-pound dummy satellite.

SpaceX, backed by PayPal founder and Tesla Motors Chairman Elon Musk, wants to become the first company able to launch a privately developed rocket into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).  Musk hopes the company is one day able to carry supplies -- and even astronauts or space tourists -- into space and to the International Space Station (ISS).

"This really means a lot," Musk said after the successful launch.  "There's only a handful of countries on Earth that have done this.  It's usually a country thing, not a company thing.  We did it!"

Prior to the successful launch on Sunday, the latest attempt made it 135 miles above Earth's surface, but the rocket failed after the second stage was unable to separate from the first stage.  This time around, the aluminum chamber designed to mimic a satellite will stay attached to the two-stage rocket as it begins to orbit Earth.

The Falcon 9 rocket could help NASA take cargo and astronauts into orbit in the future, assuming SpaceX can continue its successful launches.  In addition, an injection of private capital makes it possible for SpaceX to keep attempting to prove the effectiveness of Falcon for one-tenth the total launch cost of commercial launches.

SpaceX plans to launch another Falcon 1 sometime in early 2009, with the Malaysian RazakSat satellite as its main cargo.  If all goes according to plan, a Falcon 9 launch is expected sometime next summer.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By rtrski on 9/30/2008 9:23:43 AM , Rating: 2
SpaceShipOne was the first nongovernmental manned ship "to space", but was not an "orbital" launch vehicle. I think they topped 100km altitude (suborbital, but well into what is considered "space"), while Falcon hit like 135 miles (~217km). And was unmanned, clearly.

Your point is well intended I think: both are firsts, but in very different categories, not much 'nuanced' language required.

I too am quite excited by their success. I hope the Falcon 9 and Heavy do well, and quickly - I'd much rather see them get the contract to recrew/resupply the ISS during the wait after the shuttles get mothballed than send the money to Putin.

By randomly on 9/30/2008 9:37:27 AM , Rating: 3
Suborbital only requires 1/40 the energy of an orbital flight. The difference is in the velocity, not the altitude. I was referring to Orbital Sciences Pegasus and Taurus launch vehicles, not the SpaceShip One. Both of which were orbital launch vehicles developed privately. They have roughly the same lift capacity as the Falcon 1.

They are however solid fuel designs, so to claim a first Spacex needs to include the 'first liquid fueled' in their statement.

Regardless of the technicalities though it's a major accomplishment and I look forward to the Falcon 9.

By rtrski on 9/30/2008 10:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
I'm horribly embarrassed - I totally forgot about Pegasus (although it's not ground-launched, it was indeed to orbit).

Taurus too - but was Taurus government funded, while SpaceX Falcon has been entirely private (corporate) funded? Now I'm not so sure where the line is. Liquid vs. solid may be it, after all...?

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
Latest Headlines

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki