After three separate failures, Space Exploration Technologies (or SpaceX) got the Falcon 1 into space.
Falcon 1, SpaceX’s liquid-fueled rocket, lifted off its launch pad at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Defense Test Site on September 28 at 7:15 p.m. EDT. "As the saying goes, the fourth time’s the charm," said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. "This is one of the best days of my life."
This momentous occasion for the private space travel industry was not without errors or sacrifice. Since Musk, who was the co-founder of PayPal, founded SpaceX back in 2002, Falcon had launched three previous times, all ending short of their goal in a brilliant flash of light. The first attempt was victim to fire caused by a fuel leak shortly after launch. The second attempt was nearly a success, but an early shut down of the rockets second stage ended the near-completed run. Back on Aug. 2, an engine timing issue caused the rocket’s first stage to separate, and then collide with the second stage, abruptly ending the flight.
However, the fourth attempt was a complete success, ending with an Earth orbit that ranged from 310 to 434 miles, or 500-700 kilometers. "This is really just the first step for SpaceX," said Elon after the launch. "We’ve shown that we can get to orbit, [and] we’ve shown that we don’t have any design errors...The team is elated and ecstatic."
According to Space.com, "The booster stands 68 feet tall (21 meters) tall and is designed to haul payloads of up to about 1,256 pounds (570 kg) to low-Earth orbit." On Sunday nights launch, the Falcon 1 was carrying a 364-pound dummy satellite, which the SpaceX team nicknamed RatSat. The satellite should stay in orbit for anywhere between five and ten years. As for the fifth iteration of the Falcon 1, it should launch sometime in early 2009, and will carry a Malaysian satellite as well as several other payloads.
Currently, SpaceX is also working on the Falcon 9 rocket, a big brother of sorts to the Falcon 1. The Falcon 9 is due to be tested down at NASA’s Cape Canaveral launch pad in the summer of 2009.
Seriously, though, this is amazing. SpaceX is not only the first business to do this, they've done it so much more cheaply than NASA did, or still does.
JonnyDoughSo wait, they put launch some space junk and it's supposed to drop out of the sky sometime within the next decade but they really don't know when? Is it space travel amateur hour? 3 failures and a dummy satellite? I want to go to space as a tourist! Where do I sign up? How can they even do this? As far as I'm concerned "getting to space" probably isn't all that hard, especially when NASA gives away tons of data to help out. Shouldn't it be considered successful once they successfully bring their ship BACK from space intact? I would think that would be a bit more important to anyone considering traveling to space. Why don't we just put certain people (ie certain "authors" on DT and maybe those from Space X who decided it would be a good idea to create more space junk) on a rocket and send them to space and then pat ourselves on the back if they don't blow up on the way. Then we'll call it a success if they remain floating around earth for 5-10 years.
Wow. I'll just go one at a time, because this is a mess:
1: They put junk there, just like NASA and the Russians did the first time, because doing test flights with expensive satellites or people on board is stupid and a waste of money, and bad publicity.
2: Space Amateur hour? How can they do this? They can do it because no one owns space, and the fact that this is the first non-government body to achieve this mark is not because there are anti-space laws, it's because it's not cheap or easy to do, which is why there are so few space-faring nations of earth, let alone space-faring companies.
3: If you want to go to space as a tourist, do you think the government is more likely to sell you a ticket, or a corporation? SpaceX will pioneer the industry and create the competition that will, someday, allow you to go into space as a tourist.
4: "As Far As Your Concerned" is correct because it means you are singularly uninformed on this point, and other people know it's not simple. I could tell you how to build a car and give you the parts, but that does not mean your going to actually make a car. Space is an unforgiving environment, and the reason SpaceX is important is they have a NEW type of engine, nothing like what Nasa uses, to keep costs down. It makes it economical for commercial launches, because it's not just spending tax dollars.
5: They didn't launch a ship, they launched a rocket to deliver payload. Therefor, there is no ship to get back, and the reason is that you don't need the costs of a ship if your going to make money on launching things to start a business, and expand later. The Space Nasa space shuttle is the only "ship", the Russians use a capsule to get back down. Later, SpaceX will be able to launch people on the Falcon9, and have them also land in a capsule.
6: I would rather dummy-payload space junk instead of expensive equipment or dead people type space junk, which would have happened 3 times by now in the failed launches. The earth has an 11 year cleaning cycle for LEO orbit, and it takes care of itself.
What scares me is that you actually posted your comment whilst fully convinced you were correct. The staggering level of ignorance, and the belief that you posses the skills and intellect to mock what SpaceX has done is truly scary. It reminds me of VenomFangX on Youtube...which I am sure if you watch his videos, you'll fall instantly in love with them.
PS: I'll be watching Thunderf00t or Pat Condell, in case you were wondering. Cheers.
1. The part of a cargo producing revenue or income, usually expressed in weight.
2. The number of paying passengers, as on an airplane.
Asserting that a capsule is a ship is also silly, as one of the things that is intrinsic to a "ship" is an internal propulsion system. Without that, it's a hull, barge, capsule, ect. A proper understanding of word meaning is appreciated when trying to convey meaning to others, but I digress.
1) The space travel aspect will be aided by the ability to get things up in a cheaper manner than currently available. One could send individuals up in the rocket, and then place them in a totally different capsule to float back down.
2) Asserting that it is simple to get objects into space, especially with a new engine type, is incorrect. This is why so few companies or countries have the capabilities to do so, and this is why middle eastern countries can't even make missiles that can reach farther than their local neighbors, much less the United States. Consider that those missiles don't even have to make it into space, and whole countries aren't able to develop them with considerable funding, and Elon Musk has achieved it in four tries.
3) Just because you feel "belittled" does not indicate that I was belittling you, it just means thats how you took the information in. I was correcting you, which you seem to think substantiates an ego problem on my part, instead of a correctness problem on yours. How convenient. I also find it interesting that you then go on to call everyone on YouTube stupid, which is a bit hypocritical.
4) My britches are just the right size, and the fact that people are saying things without actually understanding them is a disturbing trend that should be corrected more often.
5) I'm American, so you might want to update your stereotype rulebook.
6) A Yankee is a derogative term for, Americans.
1. a native or inhabitant of the United States.
2. a native or inhabitant of New England. (
Just so we're clear, New England is a state in America, lots of people get fooled by that one.
So thank you for the reply, and have a loverly Internet day.
Wouldn't that be an additional "payload" and sort of...be the same point I was making? I'll put everything into quotes now so that you can be sure that I mean the word loosely...
Good Lord, I'd hate to be WRONG on the net. Before responding, you should proofread it again 10 times just to be sure that YOU have it right! /end saracasm