Private Rocket Goes Into Orbit

SpaceX craft 's success boosts NASA's post-shuttle plans
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 4, 2010 3:23 PM CDT
The SpaceX Falcon 9 test rocket lifts off from complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday, June 4, 2010.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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(Newser) – A multimillionaire's test rocket blasted off this afternoon on its maiden voyage and succeeded in reaching orbit in a dry run for NASA 's push to go commercial. After one aborted launch, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket achieved Earth orbit 9 minutes into the flight as planned, according to the company's website. "All in all, this has been a good day for SpaceX," a launch commentator said from the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif.

SpaceX's brand-new Falcon 9 rocket soared off its Cape Canaveral launch pad into thin clouds at midafternoon, carrying a mock-up of the company's spacecraft, named Dragon. The goal was to put the capsule into orbit. NASA hopes to use the Falcon-Dragon combo for hauling cargo and possibly astronauts to the International Space Station after the agency's space shuttles stop flying. SpaceX was founded 8 years ago by Elon Musk, a South African-born entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal.

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