Millionaire`s rocket blasts off on 1st test flight
A test rocket blasted off on its maiden voyage and successfully reached orbit.
Cape Canaveral: A multimillionaire`s test rocket blasted off on its maiden voyage and successfully reached orbit in a dry run for NASA`s push to go commercial.
SpaceX`s Falcon 9 rocket achieved Earth orbit nine
minutes into the flight as planned, drawing praise from NASA,
the White House and others eager for the company to start
resupplying the International Space Station.
"All in all, this has been a good day for SpaceX and a
promising development for the US space program, as we make
progress toward expanding the human presence in space," launch
commentator Robyn Ringuette announced from the company`s
headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
SpaceX`s brand new rocket soared off its launch pad into
thin clouds at mid-afternoon, carrying a mock-up of the
company`s spacecraft, named Dragon. The goal was to put the
capsule into a 250-kilometre-high orbit, which it did.
"Essentially a bull`s-eye," a company spokeswoman said.
The first attempt to launch the 48-meter rocket was
aborted in the final few seconds earlier in the afternoon.
NASA hopes to use the Falcon-Dragon combo for hauling
cargo and possibly astronauts to the space station, once the
shuttles retire later this year or early next. The first
supply run could come next year.
SpaceX - or Space Exploration Technologies - was founded
eight years ago by Elon Musk, a South African-born
entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal. It is one of several
companies vying for NASA`s business.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden called the launch "an
important milestone in the commercial transportation effort"
and said it puts the company a step closer to supplying the
And the White House Office of Science and Technology
Policy shot out this tweet: "what a show!"
President Barack Obama toured the SpaceX launch site back
in April in a strong show of support for his effort to get
NASA out of the orbit-ferrying business and into real outer
space exploration, like expeditions to asteroids and Mars.