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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: Budget
By FPP on 7/19/2009 4:52:04 PM , Rating: 2
More importantly is reliability. I think Spacex will eventually end up costing comparable to other systems but it is the reliability people will want.

The Spacex philosophy is to fire the rocket and hold it to the pad for checking it operationally before letting it go. This way, any malfunctions on the pad can be aborted without destroying the spacecraft. Spacex arrived at a philosophy of reliability achieved by almost totally building every piece, keeping control of the process. NASA will learn a great deal from their involvement with Spacex.

RE: Budget
By foolsgambit11 on 7/20/2009 5:40:12 AM , Rating: 2
It's a little early to call SpaceX reliable. 5 attempted launches, 3 failures. SpaceX calls one of those a 'partial success', but the rocket didn't make LEO, so I call that a failure. So holding the rocket to the pad doesn't seem to give them enough of a clue as to success or failure of the mission.

On the other hand, the Space Shuttles (vastly more complex pieces of machinery) have had 126 launches with only 2 failures.

I'm not saying SpaceX can't get there, and they certainly learn as much from a failure as a success (although as a business model, success works better), but they're not there yet.

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