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Successful launch from earlier this week  (Source: SpaceX)
SpaceX launches second successful rocket launch

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.

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RE: real progress:
By Fracture on 7/16/2009 4:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
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.

"In the first quarter of 2016, we'll prep and de-orbit the spacecraft," says NASA's space station program manager, Michael T. Suffredini.

7/13/2009, The Washington Post

So about that contract...good for just 5 years?

RE: real progress:
By Bruneauinfo on 7/16/2009 6:20:05 PM , Rating: 2
funny how the media is always saying that the Russians will be the only substitute for resupply of the ISS when the Shuttle is retired and we're waiting for NASA to get Orion or some other version off the ground. no faith in SpaceX?

by the time NASA gets a Shuttle substitue built the ISS will be dropping out of orbit anyway.

could it be that NASA wants the ISS to die so they can put funding elsewhere? perhaps they're passing the maintenance to Russia and investing in budget-minded SpaceX so they don't spend any more cash on it than they have to?

RE: real progress:
By Solandri on 7/17/2009 12:59:13 AM , Rating: 3
The ISS is the epitome of a white elephant.

I don't think NASA would ever want to kill it - too many of its personnel are in the manned spaceflight over robotic spaceflight camp. But I can see them bringing up the ISS de-orbit scenario to try to wrangle some more funding out of Congress.

RE: real progress:
By Mojo the Monkey on 7/20/2009 12:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
its great that there IS a contract. Its neat seeing private industry come into this sector.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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