The first successful launch of the privately funded SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took place today at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch, the first of several test flights, took place with just fifteen minutes left in a four hour launch window. The rocket lifted off at 2:45PM.
The rocket not only launched, but each stage separated correctly and a dummy payload was put into a 155 mile orbit.
There was some concern about the second stage rolling too much, but SpaceX founder Elon Musk says it did not affect the payload deployment and that the engineers would look into it to make sure there isn’t a bigger issue.
“This has really been a fantastic day” Musk was quoted as saying.
SpaceX intends to launch cargo to the International Space Station as part of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. It also serves to justify President Obama’s ill conceived space program. The President has cancelled – and, in the process, gone back on a campaign promise – the moon mission and curtailed the development of the Shuttle replacement, instead leaving that up to commercial enterprises like SpaceX. Now, there’s nothing wrong with private enterprise developing space programs, but for our government to abandon it like the President wants is not absurd, it is misguided.
Congratulations to SpaceX for a job well done.