Space Exploration Technologies recently launched a Malaysian Earth-observing satellite into orbit, marketing its second successful launch.
"Our ground systems were able to pick up communication from RazakSAT on its first pass," SpaceX said in a statement. "The satellite is communicating as expected and our team will continue to monitor the data closely."
Stormy weather and a helium malfunction delayed the launch of the Falcon 1 rocket for a few hours -- and there was concern the launch would have to be scrubbed -- but it still took off without a hitch. The RazakSAT satellite was expected to launch into space in April, but a vibration issue located between Falcon 1 and RazakSAT took quite some time to fix.
The RazakSAT will take high-resolution pictures of Malaysia, allowing the government to monitor forestry and fish migration, land management, and other government-led initiatives.
This marks the company's first commercial space launch, and the company is already looking for other companies and nations looking to launch satellites into space. SpaceX previously had three launches unable to reach orbit, but continues to build momentum for future launches.
In the future, SpaceX aims to make it significantly cheaper to go into space at a lower cost, with the company actively making new rockets. SpaceX will use its Falcon 1 and its larger Falcon 9 rocket to help launch rides into orbit in the future.
NASA awarded SpaceX a contract in 2008 to help resupply the International Space Station, which will be extremely important when the U.S. space agency retires the space shuttle fleet next year.
quote: The Falcon 1 rocket can haul small satellites, like the nearly 400-pound (180-kg) RazakSAT, into low Earth orbit
quote: Falcon 1 launches currently cost about $8 million per flight, SpaceX officials have said.
quote: The government only subsidizes things that are failing.