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Congrats SpaceX!
It looks like SpaceX pulled it off - they successfully launched DemoFlight 2 of their new Falcon 1 rocket tonight. It wasn't a complete success - the second stage seemed to experience some roll issues, and then telemetry was lost. It looks like it didn't enter the intended orbit, but they reached 300km and the first stage, separation, and fairing separation all went as planned. Even if the mission isn't a 100% success, it is a learning curve with a new vehicle, produced by a private company. The first launch attempt ended when a leak resulted in a fire and the loss of the vehicle. So they learn from each attempt.

Watch the video, it is cool. Space.com also has coverage of the launch with info on what happened. From that page, Q&A with SpaceX (and PayPal) founder Elon Musk:
Question: What is realistic aspiration for SpaceX some 10 years from now?

"I feel very confident 10 years from we can be putting both satellites and people into orbit, and maybe beyond (Earth) orbit. I feel very confident in the future of commercial spaceflight, private spaceflight and I think this bodes very well actually for achieving some of the goals I mentioned. It is really an excellent indicator that a small company can achieve great things....We had what I would call a relatively minor issue with the roll-control very late in the flight. But all the really big risk items, the ones we were most concerned, have been addressed. If you look at the early history of rocketry, I think they had something like 12 Atlas failures before the 13th one was success. To get this far on our second launch being an all-new rocket -- new main engine, new first stage, new second stage engine, new second stage, new fairing, new launch pad system, with so many new things -- to have gotten this far is great."
It is, very impressive so far.

Tags: ,
Current Location: 42.308929N 71.795328W
I am: impressed impressed
Current Media: TiVo: CNET

sciroccoguy From: sciroccoguy Date: March 21st, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
This is indeed COOL~!!! Mmm, I can see myself as a rich old man chillin' on a Virgin Galactic Flight to a nice Orbiting Ritz Carlton!! LOL.

Still, I agree with you about NASA. Being a space buff, I have said it before and will say it again: NASA should be ALL ABOUT advancing Space Technologies, but instead they are bogged down in boring crap that, we now know, is better done by smaller, cheaper private companies. They should be spending money on new concepts in propulsion (like that Ion drive they did a few years back) to push the boundaries of what we can acheive in space like they USED TO. Instead, its just more of the same....

I do, indeed, see some changes coming for them.