Feeds

Falcon 1 finally claws way into space

PayPal founder's budget rocket is go

High performance access to file storage

The Falcon 1 "budget" rocket developed by PayPal founder Elon Musk finally made it to space early this morning (GMT) - a tad under a year after a previous launch attempt ended in disaster.

The 21-metre Space Exploration Technologies rocket blasted off at 2110 EDT yesterday (0110 GMT Wednesday) from Omelek Island in the Marshall Islands, New Scientist reports. It had been due to go on Monday when "its computers automatically aborted the launch due to a software glitch". After another minor glitch on Tuesday, due to a "low pressure reading", it eventually took just a few minutes to exit the Earth's atmosphere.

It wasn't all plain sailing, though. Around five minutes into the flight, the booster's second-stage engine shut down early because of an "unexpected roll". Musk dismissed the problem as "something straightforward to fix", beaming: "It's definitely a good day."

Indeed, a far better day than "Space X" had last March, when "a corroded nut cracked, triggering a disastrous fuel leak and fire" which destroyed the first Falcon 1.

The burn-and-crash didn't, however, seriously affect the Falcon 1's commercial prospects, New Scientist notes. Space X secured several new contracts in the wake of the hiccup, including "a $278m award from NASA to demonstrate cargo delivery services to the International Space Station".

Musk confidently said that Falcon 1 was now ready for its next challenge - to lift a military communications satellite into orbit. "We don't anticipate needing any more demonstration flights," he declared.

Those of you wishing to avail yourselves of Falcon 1's bargain-basement lifting capabilities will have to stump up around $7m - around 20 per cent of full-fat commercial rates. If you need a bit more va-va-voom, Space X is also putting together the 54-metre Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy.

The Falcons 1 and 9 are two stage, liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene-boosted vehicles, while the Falcon 9 Heavy boasts "two additional Falcon 9 first stages acting as liquid strap-on boosters". The latter can lift 28,000 kg to Low Earth Orbit or 12,000 kg to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.

Space X is also working on Dragon - its "pressurized capsule and unpressurized trunk used for Earth to LEO transport of pressurized cargo, unpressurized cargo, and/or crew members" - which forms part of the NASA ISS resupply project. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.