David Kirkpatrick

September 29, 2008

SpaceX reaches orbit

A milestone in private space travel.

From the link:

It was the fourth attempt by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to launch its two-stage Falcon 1 rocket into orbit.

“Fourth time’s a charm,” said Elon Musk, the multimillionaire who started up SpaceX after making his fortune as the co-founder of PayPal Inc., the electronic payment system.

The rocket carried a 364-pound dummy payload designed and built by SpaceX for the launch.

“This really means a lot,” Musk told a crowd of whooping employees. “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.”

Musk pledged to continue getting rockets into orbit, saying the company has resolved design issues that plagued previous attempts.

Last month, SpaceX lost three government satellites and human ashes including the remains of astronaut Gordon Cooper and “Star Trek” actor James Doohan after its third rocket was lost en route to space. The company blamed a timing error for the failure that caused the rocket’s first stage to bump into the second stage after separation.

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