Jun 4, 2010

Congratulations SpaceX - You Are an Inspiration!

June 4th, 2010 - SpaceX has successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket into low Earth orbit on the very first mission. The launch was broadcast live on the internet for all the world to see. The image below was snapped off the video published on the internet and shows the ignition of the rocket's second stage (click on image to watch video).

A brief timeline for the key events off the Falcon 9 development is shown below the image. Amazingly the complete development of the vehicle from the first public announcement to the first orbital insertion took less than 5 years - a pretty a darn impressive feat!

  • May 5, 2004 - Elon Musk testifies to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation stating that "Long term plans call for development of a heavy lift product..."
  • September 8, 2005 - SpaceX formally announces the Falcon 9 describing it as being a "fully reusable heavy lift launch vehicle"
  • April 12, 2007 - SpaceX announces it had completed the primary structure for its first Falcon 9 first-stage tank
  • October 17, 2007 – SpaceX announces successful completion of the Critical Design Review for the first Falcon 9 / Dragon mission under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration program
  • July 31, 2008 - First successful multi-engine firing test of Falcon 9 first stage
  • January 2, 2010 - Successful full duration orbit insertion firing of the Falcon 9 second stage
  • March 9, 2010 - First static firing test of the first stage on the launch pad
  • June 1, 2010 - Successful completion of testing of the Flight Termination System
  • June 4, 2010 - Falcon 9 successfully launched on the second attempt of the day

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