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  1.  (8364.1)
    Space X's Falcon 9 rocket has made its first successful flight to orbit.

    The company hopes to start cargo flights to the ISS as early as next year and the eventual goal is to get its Dragon capsule approved for human flights.
  2.  (8364.2)
    Spaceflight videos like this make me think "Look what we can do! We kill, maim, destroy and, what's worse, revel in it. But we can do things like this also!"

    "They can have this place! Let me help build something new! Take me with you!"
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2010
    Cool beans. Now tell me why no one monetized Mass Lifter One?
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  4.  (8364.5)
    Wow, that's bad...
  5.  (8364.6)
    "We think it's up there somewhere" is not a flightpath to crew-rating a space launcher.
      CommentAuthorEd Sludden
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2010
    Its those engine parts that are "designed to fall off", that worry me. I'll wait for the patch, thanks..
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    It also had the issue that it was forced to nearly "critically abort" about 10 seconds to launch. But that happens with NASA a lot, so it may be no big deal. I'm just happy we're starting to see more of this, though a part of me would trust the geeks at NASA more than profit-mongering corporations. I'm interested to see how independently-operated space flight will turn out...
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    What I don't quite understand is how after 50 years of launching things into orbit and the advancement/miniaturization of technology how their system could be that glitchy. What's so damned different about this spacecraft that excuses that kind of failure?
    • CommentTimeJun 5th 2010 edited
    ...though a part of me would trust the geeks at NASA more than profit-mongering corporations. I'm interested to see how independently-operated space flight will turn out...
    I believe it ends up with Arnold Schwarzenegger restarting a reactor. At least, that's how it was in a movie I saw.

    I agree, though. Between the extreme expense of it all and the fact that there's really no market for anything in space*, private companies have little to profit off of going to space. Which leads me to believe there will be a great many O-ring failures in the future of privatized space flight.

    *(eta) That is, nothing except selling transportation and maintenance services to the government (and occasionally telco companies).
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2010
    @ warrenellis: Looks like they managed to find it and it was pretty much where it should have been.
    Shortly afterward, The Reg received a SpaceX email that quoted founder Elon Musk as saying: "Nominal shutdown and orbit was almost exactly 250km. Telemetry showed essentially a bullseye: ~0.2% on perigee and ~1% on apogee."

    That doesn't look too bad to my somewhat uneducated eye.
  8.  (8364.12)

    It's not bad for a test flight. But for things like orbital docking, you have to have extreme precision. It's a good start, but they'll have to do better.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2010
    This was a test flight of an incomplete system. It was mostly for the purpose of gathering flight data to understand the flight characteristics of the rocket. Elon wasn't convinced that there was even going to be clean separation. Given that, I'd say it was successful. With a machine this complex, you can't expect the thing to work the first time, and they didn't, which I admire.
  9.  (8364.14)
    At the same time, the article mentions that
    Historically, the maiden flights of rockets have a notoriously high failure rate. Some two-thirds of the rockets introduced in the past 20 years have had an unsuccessful first outing.
    So basically, since there wasn't catastrophic failure, this was a success! Send in the monkey astronauts!
    • CommentTimeJun 17th 2010
    ^ Yeah, I'm pretty sure I remember one of the engineers saying that he would have considered the rocket merely clearing the launch-pad to be a successful effort.

    Their goal to be delivering to ISS by 2011 does seem a little optimistic tho.
    • CommentTimeJun 17th 2010
    If next year they're delivering anywhere near the tonnage the Soyuz Progress tankers are delivering, I'll be impressed. I assume they've begun working on a human-rated capsule already, so they can mate it to a human-rated rocket when the time comes.

    Also, some friends tell me that a fellow engineering graduate went into space yeterday. Who knew?