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SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket 190

leetrout writes "SpaceX has successfully launched a two-stage rocket, the Falcon 9, into Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. 'Liftoff came after hours of delay, sparked initially by launchpad telemetry problems, then by a sailboat that strayed into a restricted area of the launch range. The day's first countdown was aborted at virtually the last second, due to a problem with the engine parameters, but the launch software was adjusted and a second countdown went all the way to the end.'" Update: 06/04 20:16 GMT by S : Reader mrcaseyj points out Spaceflight Now's coverage, which includes a number of pictures from the launch.
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SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 9 Rocket

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  • by mrcaseyj ( 902945 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:12PM (#32463080)

    What makes this one of the most important rocket launches in history is that, unlike at other rocket companies, the founder, Elon Musk, is determined to make a reusable rocket. The first stage of this rocket has been fitted with parachutes and covered with cork to protect it from the heat of reentry so that it can be recovered and studied in hopes of making them reusable in the future. The success of this launch solidifies the success of Spacex, and thereby dramaitcally increases the chances of huge benefits to humanity from much more affordable space launch. Also, the other rocket companies are probably very worried about losing all their business to Spacex now.

  • Very exciting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PeterBrett ( 780946 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:14PM (#32463118) Homepage

    I'm making a note here -- huge success!

    Hopefully this will reinvigorate the US market for launch vehicles. The satellite-manufacturing spin-off company of the research centre where I work currently launches most if not all of its payloads on decommissioned Russian ICBMs. I hope that in a couple of years, SpaceX's stable of launchers will be a practical and economical alternative!

  • Impressive recovery (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes@[ ] ['xms' in gap]> on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:33PM (#32463352)

    Earlier today they had a launch abort at T -0:00:00. I happened to watch the webcast on the SpaceX site; the countdown got to zero and my impression was that ignition was underway when the launch was aborted.

    Had they used solid rockets, they'd have been SOL at this late stage.

    Also, finding the cause and then being able to launch inside 1.5 hours is rather quick. ISTR early Shuttle launches where the slightest setback resulted in putting the clock back to T -12h.

    And was the countdown off, or was the webcast not properly synchronized? I saw liftoff taking place at T -0:00:02.

  • Shoes for Industry! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Baldrson ( 78598 ) * on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:42PM (#32463472) Homepage Journal

    Necessity and Incentives Opening the Space Frontier []

    Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Space

    by James Bowery, Chairman

    Coalition for Science and Commerce

    July 31, 1991

    Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Subcommittee:

    I am James Bowery, Chairman of the Coalition for Science and Commerce. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to address the subcommittee on the critical and historic topic of commercial incentives to open the space frontier.

    The Coalition for Science and Commerce is a grassroots network of citizen activists supporting greater public funding for diversified scientific research and greater private funding for proprietary technology and services. We believe these are mutually reinforcing policies which have been violated to the detriment of civilization. We believe in the constitutional provision of patents of invention and that the principles of free enterprise pertain to intellectual property. We therefore see technology development as a private sector responsibility. We also recognize that scientific knowledge is our common heritage and is therefore a proper function of government. We oppose government programs that remove procurement authority from scientists, supposedly in service of them. Rather we support the inclusion, on a per-grant basis, of all funding needed to purchase the use of needed goods and services, thereby creating a scientist-driven market for commercial high technology and services. We also oppose government subsidy of technology development. Rather we support legislation and policies that motivate the intelligent investment of private risk capital in the creation of commercially viable intellectual property.

    In 1990, after a 3 year effort with Congressman Ron Packard (CA) and a bipartisan team of Congressional leaders, we succeeded in passing the Launch Services Purchase Act of 1990, a law which requires NASA to procure launch services in a commercially reasonable manner from the private sector. The lobbying effort for this legislation came totally from taxpaying citizens acting in their home districts without a direct financial stake -- the kind of political intended by our country's founders, but now rarely seen in America.

    We ask citizens who work with us for the most valuable thing they can contribute: The voluntary and targeted investment of time, energy and resources in specific issues and positions which they support as taxpaying citizens of the United States. There is no collective action, no slush-fund and no bureaucracy within the Coalition: Only citizens encouraging each other to make the necessary sacrifices to participate in the political process, which is their birthright and duty as Americans. We are working to give interested taxpayers a voice that can be heard above the din of lobbyists who seek ever increasing government funding for their clients.


    Americans need a frontier, not a program.

    Incentives open frontiers, not plans.

    If this Subcommittee hears no other message through the barrage of studies, projections and policy recommendations, it must hear this message. A reformed space policy focused on opening the space frontier through commercial incentives will make all the difference to our future as a world, a nation and as individuals.

    Americans Need a Frontier

    When Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon, we won the "space race" against the Soviets and entered two decades of diminished expectations.

    The Apollo program elicited something deep within Americans. Something almost primal. Apollo was President Kennedy's "New Frontier." But when Americans found it was terminated as nothing more than a Cold War contest, we felt betrayed in ways we are still unable to articulate -- betrayed right down to our pioneering souls. The result is that Americans will never again truly believe i

  • Re:Cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @05:26PM (#32463978) Homepage Journal

    There have been suggestions that it could be as little as two years off, except that the emergency systems (particularly the ejection mechanism) might not make that mark. As can be seen by the recent delays for the Falcon 9 largely because the flight termination system was awaiting certification, seemingly minor things can lengthen things dramatically.

    I think two years is incredibly optimistic, but I would love for SpaceX to prove me wrong.

  • Re:Cool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CompressedAir ( 682597 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @05:41PM (#32464162)

    1. Correct.
    2. Just fine. :+D

    The CRS flights are just one more piece to the puzzle. In the post Shuttle world, we'll have Soyuz, Progress, ATV, HTV, Orbital, and SpaceX. The SpaceX vehicle gives us back a large downmass capability which is going away when the Shuttle retires. Upmass we got, downmass not so much.

  • Re:Cool. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by astar ( 203020 ) <> on Friday June 04, 2010 @06:38PM (#32464756) Homepage

    It seems to me that Obama and the OMB want to kill manned exploratory spaceflight. And even more than that. Consider that everyone but USA is going to the moon and soon. But so far not manned. Of course, last I looked Bolton had to check with OMB to go to the john. I am sure OMB just cannot justify it from a bean counter perspective, but they really really want a mars colony. On the other hand, there is widespread suspicion that Obama and OMB are breaking the law with their cutbacks. All this is really consistent with your perspective.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:20PM (#32465204)
    Do you seriously expect slashdot readers to create a facebook account to see your photos? Please use a publicly-accessible host next time.
  • Nice pictures (Score:2, Interesting)

    by solid_liq ( 720160 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:57PM (#32465550) Homepage Journal
    For such an expensive rocket launch, you'd think they'd at least have a professional photographer with professional lenses. Those pictures are terrible. Look at the flames; there's no detail. They obviously used cheap lenses. I'm an amateur photographer, but I have professional equipment because I'm too picky to have my pictures look as bad as their launch pictures do. I'm glad the launch succeeded, but you'd think they'd want better pictures for examining the launch and for PR.
  • by Nyeerrmm ( 940927 ) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @02:08AM (#32467188)

    STS was designed with a lot of astronaut input, and it was designed so you had to have people on board -- landing gear could not be controlled automatically. Astronauts want nothing more than to keep flying, and to feel like they're pilots and not cargo. Having a spacecraft be designed by the military test-pilot variety of astronaut is often just asking for trouble.

    Amusingly, John Young, the commander for STS-1 has recently said that it was foolish to be on that flight.

  • by holmstar ( 1388267 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @02:31PM (#32486908)
    I'm pretty sure that I read somewhere that spacex already has something like 30 payloads booked for future flights. Maybe those aren't firm contracts, but it doesn't sound like they are having any trouble with demand.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham