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First Privately Developed and Financed Rocket Reaches Orbit


Just as Chinese astronauts were returning to Earth after their first spacewalk, a bit of space history was made Sunday in the U.S. as the SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket blasted into orbit from a Pacific atoll approximately 8,000 miles southwest of Los Angeles:

Reuters: "The Falcon 1 rocket launched by Space Exploration Technologies, a California company founded by Elon Musk, founder of PayPal and chairman of Tesla Motors, became the first privately developed, privately financed rocket to reach orbit at 4:26 p.m. Pacific time...By slashing the cost to reach orbit, and by giving satellite researchers and small aerospace companies a way to avoid the bureaucracy of NASA, the military or foreign launchers to reach space, Hawthorne-based SpaceX could enable a flash of space innovation the way the Apple II did in computing, said Bob Twiggs, an emeritus professor of astronautics at Stanford University."

The rocket was carrying a dummy payload. It also carried a side-mounted camera and shot a beautiful video as it soared above earth's atmosphere, showing the atoll and the curve of the earth as it climbed into orbit.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Very cool!

    Posted by: Joren | Sep 29, 2008 12:38:46 PM

  2. Let's hope they didn't drink the milk.

    Posted by: Matty | Sep 29, 2008 1:06:55 PM

  3. How is it so stable? NASA liftoffs nearly shake the pudding out of you.

    Posted by: Anukki | Sep 29, 2008 1:09:51 PM

  4. Amazing!

    Posted by: anon | Sep 29, 2008 1:36:19 PM

  5. Hmmm, I wonder why this wasn't covered by the major (corporate) news networks?

    Posted by: johnny P | Sep 29, 2008 1:41:18 PM

  6. Oh, look, something else that private industry does better than the government.

    Posted by: Jordan | Sep 29, 2008 3:45:40 PM

  7. don't be absurd. the achievement is noteworthy but hardly describable as better than NASA.

    Posted by: blake | Sep 30, 2008 2:39:29 AM

  8. Hopefully they will get enough payload traffic to sustain themselves and we won't have to rely on NASA and the other space agencies any longer for the transport of goods to and from space. I wonder if they will use these to transport supplies to and from the ISS?

    Posted by: Jason Young | Sep 30, 2008 8:46:22 PM

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