Feeds

Falcon 1 finally claws way into space

PayPal founder's budget rocket is go

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.