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On Fourth Launch Attempt, SpaceX Falcon 1 Reaches Orbit

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the pure-congratulations dept.

Space 518

xp65 writes with the just-announced success of Elon Musk's SpaceX's long efforts to reach orbit with a privately-developed launching craft: "T+0:08:21 Falcon 1 reached orbital velocity, 5200 m/s Nominal Second stage cut off (SECO) — Falcon 1 has made history as the first privately developed liquid fueled launch vehicle to achieve earth orbit!" dbullard adds "This was a completely new vehicle — it's not using any previously developed hardware. All developed from scratch. No government supplied hardware, Russian engines, or old ICBM motors. My hat's off to the employees of Space X — all 550 of them. (Note — no 'cast of thousands,' just 550). They've got video of the entire launch."

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518 comments

Cost (1, Interesting)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188467)

Exactly how much did this cost?

Re:Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188539)

Exactly how much did this cost?

Why? Are you thinking of buying one?
As they say "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it"!

Re:Cost (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188571)

To develop? That's proprietary.

Want to buy a launch? $7.9 million [spacex.com].

Re:Cost (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188675)

Looks like the prices are going to drop big if they manage to do what they intend though, from the same page they plan to go from $7.9M for 420 kg now to $9.1M for 1010 kg in 2010. Still not exactly cheap for my paycheck but I guess lower than the competition.

Re:Cost (3, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188645)

I had no luck finding exact numbers, but Musk was worth about $200million when he started this, but there have been some launches paid for by Uncle Sam, so the exact funding gets murky. The test launches cost between $7 to $12 million. I'd think it would be quite safe to say the total budget so far has been under $500 million, that would be Elon Musk's total fortune, plus matching funds from the government, plus considerable outside donations. $500 million is 1/32nd NASA's annual budget for comparison.

Re:Cost (3, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188659)

>>Exactly how much did this cost?
You? nothing. Which is precisely why it's so significant. This is private enterprise, vs. a mandatory government space program. You get to choose whether to be a part of this, or not.

Oh, and as far as "cost", I think it's more accurate to consider it an "investment" for soon these space shots will generate income.

A toast (2, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188469)

To the long years of effort still ahead. May SpaceX be there to participate as man finally reaches for the stars.

Re:A toast (1)

felipekk (1007591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188663)

I couldn't find the video for Flight 4, but found the video [spacex.com] for Flight 3 (that failed to reach orbit) that is very interesting...

Not only men, I hope (4, Funny)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188695)

May SpaceX be there to participate as man finally reaches for the stars.

Let's bring some women too.

Re:A toast (2, Funny)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188749)

Almost fifty-one years after Sputnik, the private sector catches up, sort of. Woo-hoo, Alpha Centauri here we come.

All Aboard! 80% Launch Failure Rate! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188809)

What a triumph for the private sector! Just think of the people queuing up to pay for their ticket on a launch platform with a 80 percent failure rate!

All hail the mighty power of 'teh private sector'! Take that 'teh government'!

Re:All Aboard! 80% Launch Failure Rate! (5, Insightful)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188867)

Ah, STFU. They developed it completely from scratch. Lets see how well YOU do under those conditions.

A challenge from the Falcon 1 team... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188849)

When asked if he had a message for other companies developing their own orbital launch systems, a spokesman for the Falcon launch team responded, simply "Yes!"

"Come on!", he said, when asked to continue- followed by, "Show me your moves!"

Clearly the folks at SpaceX are feeling pretty confident about their achievement - but they welcome the challenge posed by their competition.

Congrats ... (2, Insightful)

fewnorms (630720) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188473)

May you be the first of many more private space companies; we sure need you guys.

Re:Congrats ... (1, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188785)

Why? So there can be advertising on the face of the moon?

Why do we 'need' tacky, crappy private space companies firing off rockets that fail 3/4 of the time?

Re:Congrats ... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188915)

Lets see... So you don't have to pay more taxes? So we can actually get info about space without it being classified? So we can solve the energy "crisis"?

My dick reached orbit on first attempt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188477)

but you don't see it on the front page do you?

It's not news because (2, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188487)

we can't use a telescope and a microscope simultaneously.

Re:It's not news because (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188505)

Huh?

Re:It's not news because (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188527)

To view microscopic objects in space.

Re:It's not news because (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188567)

but why would we want to do such a thing?

Re:It's not news because (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188629)

At this point in the thread, it is traditional for an Anonymous Coward to jump in with a mention of 'black holes' which links to Goatse.

...We're waiting, AC.

sorry i'm late guys (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188693)

I got too close to my cock's Schwarzchild radius (which all hypermassive objects have) and time got really dilated. [www.goat.cx]

Frickin awesome (3, Insightful)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188481)

Elon Musk is friggin' Hank Rearden man.

Now he is really gonna swim in the money. Tip my hat to all involved. :-)

Re:Frickin awesome (5, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188633)

ugh...

i know you meant that as a compliment, but i highly doubt someone like Musk would want to be compared with a protagonist form an Ayn Rand novel.

FYI, Musk invested much of his profits from PayPal in Tesla Motors. considering the altruistic goals (echoing the company's namesake) of the company to ultimately bring affordable electric vehicles to market, not to mention the various philanthropic projects funded by the Musk foundation, i really don't think it's appropriate to label him as the archetypal Randian objectivist.

he seems more like someone who's made his millions, and is now trying to use that wealth to better society rather than a staunch capitalist obsessed with acquiring money and power.

Re:Frickin awesome (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188699)

The Space Review has an article on the motives of entrepreneurs:

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1216/1 [thespacereview.com]

The author, Bob Clarebrough, suggests that the "economic rational" motives proclaimed by Adam Smith are really only surface effects of the greater motivation: passion and vision.

Re:Frickin awesome (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188769)

I know, I know, I'm more than anyone aware of the 'sexless caricatures that speak in long monologues' being a fine portrayal of Atlas Shrugged, which I like very much from the philosophical standpoint, but during that Galt speech I was going - like many others I believe - "jesus, won't he ever finish?".

So whether he is a staunch capitalist or an altruist doing it for humanity is besides the point. He WILL make loads of money, and it is obviously a motivation, even if he says he's doing it for selfless reasons.

In a free economy which follows the Rule of Law, bettering society and acquiring money go hand in hand, as always. When taking others property by force or fraud is not an option, producing and creating wealth becomes the only means to earn a living.

I disagree on your last point though. I see it as he's someone who made his millions by bettering society and sees no reason to stop while there's industry and initiative in him to keep doing so.

Re:Frickin awesome (0, Troll)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188683)

Did you just mention a character from "Atlas Shrugged"? You do realise that makes you a self important retard, don't you?

Why will he swim in money? The global economy is in a bit of a state right now and I don't think many people are going to be that keen in putting their money into a launcher with a 75% failure rate.

Re:Frickin awesome (3, Funny)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188895)

Wow, you like cursing and insulting other people huh? Let's brush that silly ad hominem aside and look at the facts.

Many people have ALREADY put their money into F1 launches, check their launch manifest. And that was when, by your standards, they had a 100% failure rate. I expect SpaceX to receive more bids now.

The F9 and F9 Heavy uses the Merlin engine, but in multiple configurations for added thrust. Now, you would want to prove your concept in the smallest scale possible to minimize losses, so they did, the F1 flying around our rock as we speak.

Now if they say the F9 Heavy will take about 30 tons to LEO, don't mind if I believe they can deliver.

Let's revisit his recent quote... (2, Informative)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188705)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had a few words for his critics last month: "Optimism, pessimism, f-ck that; we're going to make it happen. As God is my bloody witness, I'm hell-bent on making it work."

I guess he showed them!

To paraphrase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188495)

That's one small step for SpaceX, one giant leap for capitalism!

Re:To paraphrase (1)

dogdick (1290032) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188741)

OMGF.
That's one small step for a SpaceX, one giant leap for capitalism!

There fixed it for you.

YES!!! (5, Interesting)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188501)

I've been waiting for their success for the past 5 years or so, and I'm absolutely ecstatic.

They have a couple more Falcon 1 flights scheduled for this year, with their first Falcon 9 flight next year. The Falcon 9 is considerably larger, and is the vehicle SpaceX plans to use for delivering cargo and crew to the International Space Station.

I imagine that there's been a number of announcements waiting in the wings for SpaceX's first successful flight. Perhaps we'll be hearing soon about a more formal arrangement between SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace with their private space station plans?

What A Bunch Of Fuckups (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188573)

No one is waiting around for these clowns to get their act together finally. Given their pathetically incompetent history the fact that they finally managed to not fuck up once again is certainly due to pure dumb luck.

Dream on if you think anyone is going to let these nimrods anywhere near something as valuable as the International Space Station.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188589)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_Orbital_Transportation_Services [wikipedia.org]

Are there any ACs on Slashdot who are not morons?

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188611)

No.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188647)

I agree. I'm an AC and I'm completely hopeless. My parents are actually having another baby to try harder.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (0, Flamebait)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188669)

Just because there is a Wikipedia article about it, doesn't mean it will even become a reality.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188709)

So what you're saying is that NASA is going to back out on COTS.. and basically just give SpaceX millions for doing nothing. Well I guess that's a bad thing.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (0, Flamebait)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188759)

It wouldn't be the first think NASA has thrown money at that didn't work out, would it?

And it would of course depend on Musk being able to make Falcon 9 work; far from certain.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188813)

And it would of course depend on Musk being able to make Falcon 9 work; far from certain.

What do you think are the show-stoppers?

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (-1, Troll)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188831)

Clustering 9 engines considering the shit they went through getting one to work. Its going to be some pretty fireworks.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (2, Insightful)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188917)

Clustering 9 engines considering the shit they went through getting one to work. Its going to be some pretty fireworks.

Are there any particular failure modes you have in mind that they might be prone to? Do you believe they'll be unable to replicate the procedures which led to success on this past flight? Why not?

Oi... what an idiot... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188963)

Interesting that you mention clustering the engines as being a problem, considering what they went through getting one to work. Their failures were:

1. Corrosion.
2. "Slosh" in the second stage.
3. Stage separation timing.

Not a single failure can be attributed to the engines, which have performed beautifully. I can only conclude that you are every bit as much an idiot as you appear to be.

Sleep well.

Re:Oi... what an idiot... (0, Troll)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188977)

Number three wasn't stage seperation timing. It was how long the engine would continue to produce thrust. Even as a sceptic I stared slack jawed at the screen when I read this. How the fuck did they let that get through?

These pricks you are cheerleading for have about as much quality control as a Chinese dairy farm, which is why they didn't know how much thrust their own damn engine produce before it was slamming their stages together. Check your facts before you call someone and idiot next time you cocksucker.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188837)

Oh, don't get me wrong.. I'm not one of these geeks who thinks that SpaceX is going to have flawless launches from here on out and have a human launch capability ready to replace the Shuttle. I don't even think there's enough customers for SpaceX to really change the launch market.. but I do believe they will capture a lot of that market share and be a successful earner, and I believe they will eventually be delivering cargo to the ISS under COTS. As for Musk's long term plans to colonize Mars.. well that's his little pet project :)

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (0, Offtopic)

kesuki (321456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188821)

given the track record of the government during dubba's presidency, giving a private corporation $280 million to do nothing would be minor. after all they've spent Trillions of dollars on iraq, and are floating a 700 billion golden parachute for mortgage backed securities. without addressing the fundamental problem that lead to the failure of Mortgage backed securities and without helping people keep the homes they borrowed against...

i mean, he's such a generous guy giving his circle of friends trillions of dollars....

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188803)

I'm curious, but between SpaceX and the Ares I, which do you think will be transporting crew to orbit first?

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188835)

this is completely OT, but the picture on that wiki page has got me wondering; why is it that we aren't exploring solar power technologies in space aside from photovoltaic cells?

for instance, most solar power plants on earth seem to use solar thermal energy based on Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) [wikipedia.org] systems like parabolic troughs [wikipedia.org] or solar power towers [wikipedia.org] rather than PV cells. would solar thermal energy not be as efficient in space? how would the lack of atmosphere affect these applications? would it allow for better thermal insulation, or would the cold temperatures in space drain the heat transfer fluid of its stored energy?

obviously, terrestrial solar energy plants are massive and take up significant land area, but for something like the ISS, the system could be scaled down as you don't need to supply power to an entire city. i mean, if current solar panels are so inefficient, why is it still the only form of solar energy collector that's used in space?

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188855)

There's a whole lot of people interested in it. Musk, however, isn't one them.

Washington, D.C.: Should not NASA be funding research to make Space Solar Power possible in this time of energy crisis as they did in the 1970's?

Elon Musk: No, I don't believe in space solar power. It will never be competitive with ground solar power. The cost of converting the electron energy to photon energy and then back again on the ground overwhelms the 2X increase in solar incidence. And that's before you consider the cost of transporting the solar panels and converters to orbit!

Washington, D.C.: What do you think of the future of Space Solar Power, especially built with Lunar Materials?

Elon Musk: Only good for people living on the Moon.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (5, Insightful)

Smoke2Joints (915787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188625)

ill bite: i think youre being a little unfair. considering that no other private space-flight company has ever achieved an orbit in space (as opposed to suborbit), this is a monumental achievement. the gemini programs had their fair share of failures too, yet i dont hear anything but admiration and pride in the people involved there.

i say well done, SpaceX! this is a moment in history - no longer is spaceflight limited to governmental agencies. usher in the era privately funded space access, and may that lead to mass produced spacecraft for private use!

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188707)

"monumental achievement"

LOL!

The fact that the guys finally managed to do something NASA was doing regularly back in the early 1960s with incredibly primitive technology, manufacturing, and computing power is a complete joke.

But, hey, if retards like you how somehow see this as some sort of 'victory' for 'teh private sector'...

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188959)

Fuck off asshole. Everything has to start somewhere. They're doing this completely from scratch. You probably couldn't launch a goddamned BOTTLE ROCKET without fucking it up, so shut your fucking hole.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (3, Informative)

vbraga (228124) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188891)

considering that no other private space-flight company has ever achieved an orbit in space

That's not true: Orbital Sciences [orbital.com] been doing this from a long time. SpaceX is the first creating all the stack, from the motors to the launch vehicle. United Launch Alliance [ulalaunch.com] also has Delta and Atlas too.

Spaceflight is not limited to governmental agencies since a long time.

Re:What A Bunch Of Fuckups (2, Informative)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188887)

No one is waiting around for these clowns to get their act together finally. Given their pathetically incompetent history the fact that they finally managed to not fuck up once again is certainly due to pure dumb luck.

Dream on if you think anyone is going to let these nimrods anywhere near something as valuable as the International Space Station.

Both NASA and its Russian counterpart had several failures, some of which claimed lives. What makes you think these guys are any worse?

If the chinese can do it --- (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188503)

If the Chinese can do it, that means the US, the Brits, and even the French have already done it, and a long, long time ago.

Re:If the chinese can do it --- (-1, Offtopic)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188603)

So, would you say a majority of American teenagers understand calculus?

grats! (1, Insightful)

savuporo (658486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188507)

Nothing but congratulations ! Elon was completely at loss of words in the webcast, and it seemed like the entire gang is going to have one hell of a party ASAP !

Week of newsworth orbits (5, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188517)

I would say I'm even more impressed by this than by China's manned spaceflight.

This is something new and very interesting. It's relatively trivial for a nation of over a billion people and a strong centralized government to develop a space program. But a privately funded orbital rocket. That's a game changer.

Congratulations to China and especially congratulations to the groundbreaking team at SpaceX!

Re:Week of newsworth orbits (5, Interesting)

barzok (26681) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188899)

It's relatively trivial for a nation of over a billion people and a strong centralized government to develop a space program

Especially when they've purchased a large quantity of the required technology from Russia.

Recent discussion/interview with SpaceX's CEO (5, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188593)

A few days ago the Washington Post had a pretty interesting discussion/interview with Elon Musk, the CEO/CTO/founder/funder of SpaceX. Some juicy tidbits, which are even more exciting in the context of today's launch success:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/09/24/DI2008092402502.html [washingtonpost.com]

Washington, D.C.: If and when you manage to get all the Falcons and Dragon [wikipedia.org] up and running, what's next? Further incremental improvements on these or something more revolutionary? Also, where do you stand on the value of the various X-prizes (and equivalents)?

Elon Musk: Still a long way to getting *all* the Falcons and Dragons flying. We need to get F1 to orbit for one thing :) Then F9 [wikipedia.org], F9 with Cargo Dragon, F9 with crew Drago and F9 Heavy. My interest is very much in the direction of Mars, so a Mars lander of some kind might be the next step. ...

Stillwater, Minn.: Mr. Musk, first of all, I've been following SpaceX via your website since before Flight 1, and I hope to join you all someday (I'm an undergrad ChEg at Notre Dame). Talk about the inherent advantages of your rockets over those designed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing (reusability, smaller size = significantly smaller cost, redundancies on the Falcon 9, etc.)

Elon Musk: The full answer for why SpaceX is lower cost is too long for this forum and I don't like to give soundbite answers if they are incorrect. The cost of a single use rocket is:

* Engines
* Structures
* Avionics
* Launch operation
* Overhead

We are better on every one at SpaceX vs competitors -- by a factor of two vs most international and four vs domestic. That is before reuse is considered, which could ultimately be a 10X or more additional reduction. ...

Cocoa Beach, Fla.: Congress mistakenly took the first step towards extending the shuttle program. Anyone in the know is aware that this is impossible given the cost of re-certification. Why then is this being supported at any level. Why isn't Congress saying anything about privatizing our space effort?

Marc Kaufman: Congress has put up some money for privatizing the space effort, and SpaceX has indeed been the main beneficiary. I think that Congress and NASA are waiting for a successful launch before going more deeply into expanding the privatizing.

Those initial steps taken by Congress regarding extending the shuttle program are a reflection of just how strongly people feel about the five-year gap, during which there are no current clear alternatives to paying Russia for Soyuz transport. Extending the shuttle could close some of that gap, and could also allow some very expensive and promising equipment--now absent from the rest of the shuttle manifests- to be delivered to the station. One grounded, $1.5 billion piece of equipment in particular has become very controversial because scores of institutioins and national space agencies helped pay for it. ....

Urbana, Ill.: Right now you have two rockets based on the same first-stage engine (Merlin). To launch Falcon 9 Heavy, you'll need 27 of those engines to fire simultaneously. Do you have any plans to develop a larger engine in the future so that such clustering is not necessary?

Elon Musk: Yeah, I think there is an argument for a really really big Falcon engine or BFE, as we call it :)

That would be equal or greater to the thrust of 27 Merlin 1C engines. Would be exciting to see that fire! ...

Calistoga, Calif.: Elon, Your business plan emphasis low man power as cost savings method, how does NASA documentation requirements impact your man power requirements? In other words, how many of SpaceX staff are on board solely to deal with NASA requirements?

Elon Musk: The documentation does add to the cost per flight, perhaps on the order of 25% or so. However, the NASA people we deal with seem genuinely interested in reducing that cost (without affecting reliability, of course). Since we are not a cost plus contractor, we are incented towards efficiency, much like an airline. ...

Washington, D.C.: Hi Elon. I applaud your vision and efforts towards greener travel on earth -- Tesla -- and of course towards human space exploration. Do you have an estimate of when the common person will be able to take advantage of the fruits of the SpaceX program? Thanks so much! -Eric

Elon Musk: Depends on how common. If we can make reusability work well, I think we can get the cost per person to orbit down to a few million dollars within eight to ten years. If reusability works well and demand is strong, so that we can distribute overhead over a large number of launches, it could one day get to under $1M.

Re:Recent discussion/interview with SpaceX's CEO (4, Insightful)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188719)

Elon Musk: Depends on how common. If we can make reusability work well, I think we can get the cost per person to orbit down to a few million dollars within eight to ten years. If reusability works well and demand is strong, so that we can distribute overhead over a large number of launches, it could one day get to under $1M.

This strikes me as one of those quotes that people are going to laugh at 30 years from now, like the oft-repeated quotes on how someday computers will be 'only a few tons' and 'take up only one room'. At least, I hope so.

Nice One! Although this time (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188601)

Nice One! Although the press release says this time around it carried a "payload mass simulator" which I'm guessing means "nothing we're gonna sweat over getting blowed up" - no satellites or Scotty's ashes or such.

Now if they can get a second Falcon 1 into orbit...

Next step - open-source space vehicles!

Re:Nice One! Although this time (2, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188657)

Nice One! Although the press release says this time around it carried a "payload mass simulator" which I'm guessing means "nothing we're gonna sweat over getting blowed up" - no satellites or

When I was watching the webcast, Musk kept on joking about a "RatSat" when congratulating his employees after the successful launch. It sounded like they just had a metal cylinder with a drawing of a rat on the side.

Scotty's ashes or such.

You probably already know this, but just in case, the previous SpaceX rocket only carried a symbolic portion (1 gram or so) of "Scotty's" ashes. Assuming the family is still interested, they'll probably just try launching again on a future flight.

Next up (0, Troll)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188623)

Space X is going launch their first monkey into space with their commercial craft. Unfortunately the monkey they are hoping for [bushorchimp.com] won't be available until next year. And that's if the same monkey doesn't destroy the economy first. Silly chimp!

Great day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188643)

He did it, He did it. Now private space has taken its greatest step to date. And we have Elon and his Space X crew to thank. Nothing can take this GREAT milestone from them.

Bob

Not THAT impressive (-1, Flamebait)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188649)

Looking what the Big Nasty State of China just did, private enterprise is looking positively lame. Even with this launch, Musk's rocket still has only a 25% success rate and can only launch a few kilos into orbit.

All you Ayn Rand fanboys seeking proof of the supremacy of the private sector, this is not it. If you want to really put your beliefs to the test, I suggest you look at the banking sector.

Why am I being so rough? Slashdotters seem more than willing to jump on Elon Musk's "entrepreneurial" cock but at the same time make racist statements when the Chinese government achieves a far more significant space milestone. Don't expect everyone to fall at the feet of this guy simply because he fits in with your ideological predispositions; he is quite far behind.

Re:Not THAT impressive (5, Insightful)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188779)

Looking what the Big Nasty State of China just did, private enterprise is looking positively lame. Even with this launch, Musk's rocket still has only a 25% success rate and can only launch a few kilos into orbit.

Uh sure, and to get to this point SpaceX's total expenditures (over 6 years) have been around a half billion dollars. In contrast, China spends around $2 billion every year. China may be ahead of SpaceX for the time being, but it'll be interesting to see where they are a few years from now.

Slashdotters seem more than willing to jump on Elon Musk's "entrepreneurial" cock but at the same time make racist statements when the Chinese government achieves a far more significant space milestone.

Um, what? I didn't see much of that myself, although I usually only read at +3 or higher. Are the people who are congratulating Elon Musk the same folks who were making racist statements about Chinese efforts?

Re:Not THAT impressive (-1, Flamebait)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188823)

Perhaps I should take your lead then. Any articles about the Shenzhou programme (which, btw, is doing pretty well to cost only 20 times as much as Musks effort considering how much more they are doing) are dogged with comments about 'chinks' and how they must be faking it because they couldn't possibly grasp high technology, followed by some comments about Tibet by people who get awfully defensive about Iraq. It gets pretty ugly.

Re:Not THAT impressive (2, Funny)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188983)

Perhaps I should take your lead then. Any articles about the Shenzhou programme (which, btw, is doing pretty well to cost only 20 times as much as Musks effort considering how much more they are doing) are dogged with comments about 'chinks' and how they must be faking it because they couldn't possibly grasp high technology, followed by some comments about Tibet by people who get awfully defensive about Iraq. It gets pretty ugly.

Sure, and as we've just seen, apparently stories about SpaceX's successes are dogged with comments about slashdotters wanting to jump on CEO's cocks. Fortunately both sorts of comments tend to get modded down pretty quickly as ignorant and/or irrelevant.

Re:Not THAT impressive (4, Insightful)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188875)

You're not impressed by 550 people pulling off something that took China the resources of 1.3 billion people plus a close partnership with the Russian space agency to pull off?

China's accomplishments are impressive, but no more so than the ESA's -- a government with immense funding learning from partners who already have the technology. SpaceX has pulled off a real, independent first -- more like Russia or the USA did in decades past.

Re:Not THAT impressive (-1, Troll)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188885)

Please don't compare the Falcon 1 to the R7, because I don't want to piss myself laughing then have to change my trousers.

Re:Not THAT impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188883)

Bet you're the heart and soul of a party.

Miserable git.

Re:Not THAT impressive (-1, Troll)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188931)

Depends what party.

People are cheerleading this fairly mundane flight (after a series of hilarious disasters, and there are more to follow I promise) simply because the idea of corporate space flight fits in with their masturbatory Atlas Shrugged fantasies.

I find it sickening for free market fundamentalists to be celebrating this whilst the rest of reality shows their belief system to be incredibly damaging. I mean, how many banks have had to be bailed out recently? How many have lost their homes?

Congrats! (2)

GlobalColding (1239712) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188671)

Congrats on putting a nice crack in the mismanaged, overpriced, overpoliticised, goverment monopoly. Good Luck!

Re:Congrats! (1)

eskayp (597995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188851)

It wasn't good luck that finally got a Falcon up there.
It was trial and error and correction after basing their program on decades of research plus technology developed by both democratic and totalitarian governments.
If private enterprise is so enterprising why weren't they up there before NASA or the USSR?
It's good to see SpaceX provide an alternative means of access to space, but they had to stand on the shoulders of giants to get there.

Re:Congrats! (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188955)

If private enterprise is so enterprising why weren't they up there before NASA or the USSR?

Ummm... Because they have to follow laws and don't have billions in capital? For example, the government can basically use whatever studies they feel like using, copyrighted or not, they can tax us and use all the money allocated for "defense" in order to fund the early rocket programs. Give a private company access to a few billions of dollars and tell them you can ignore all laws and tell them to make a rocket and they can.

Video? (1)

shoegoo (674914) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188731)

I can't seem to find the video of the Falcon 1 Flight 4 (which the article is discussing). I only find Flight 3. Has anyone found the video?

Learn some fucking maths (0, Flamebait)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188745)

Falcon 1: $7 million/165kg = $42,424/kg

Russian Proton: $85 million/21,600kg = $4,302/kg

The retards saying that Falcon 1 is some revolution in price need to shut the fuck up and check their facts.

Falcon 9 might beat (well, equal) Proton for price/kg if, repeat IF, it ever flies. This joker has got the simplest possible liquid fueled rocket flying after blowing up three of them, it will at least take him a while to figure out how to cluster engines.

But after all this work he will only be able to equal the price of the old Russia stalwart, whats the fucking point? Nobody in their right mind will buy a launch from a billionaire with too much time on his hands when they can choose a far more proven launcher.

Depends on your payload... (1, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188839)

If your payload is only 150kg, then a Russian Proton is going to be pretty damned expensive. Not everyone needs to put 21,600kg into space. On the other hand, if your payload is 166kg, you still need another flight vehicle vendor (for now)

Re:Depends on your payload... (0, Troll)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188859)

Ooops:

http://www.spaceandtech.com/spacedata/elvs/dnepr_sum.shtml

Preempted by teh eveel commies once again

Re:Learn some fucking maths (3, Informative)

strack (1051390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188913)

165kg is just the weight of the dummy module to put into orbit you moron. if you took the 5 seconds itd take to go and check the spacex website, youd see it can actually put around 1 tonne into orbit. and thats before any sort of reusuability is taken into account. so next time, think before you open your moron mouth.

Re:Learn some fucking maths (2, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188921)

If you've got ~165kg to launch, why would you pay $85m instead of $7m?

Re:Learn some fucking maths (1, Insightful)

damburger (981828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188961)

If you had 165kg to put in orbit, you would piggy back it on someone elses larger satellite. Probably a Proton tbh.

Re:Learn some fucking maths (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188951)

Falcon 1: $7 million/165kg = $42,424/kg

Russian Proton: $85 million/21,600kg = $4,302/kg

The retards saying that Falcon 1 is some revolution in price need to shut the fuck up and check their facts.

Falcon 9 might beat (well, equal) Proton for price/kg if, repeat IF, it ever flies. This joker has got the simplest possible liquid fueled rocket flying after blowing up three of them, it will at least take him a while to figure out how to cluster engines.

But after all this work he will only be able to equal the price of the old Russia stalwart, whats the fucking point? Nobody in their right mind will buy a launch from a billionaire with too much time on his hands when they can choose a far more proven launcher.

Oh right...I mean nobody would want to use anything flying that was made by bicycle manufacturers!

I mean after all cargo ships are made by proven large concerns so nobody would want anything to do with two guys in their backyard! Preposterous!

Your math statement may be correct however you fail in that you refuse to accept that people should even try to do better than the existing structure.

(And yes I know my airplane analogy is a bit flawed but it's the best I could come up with. Perhaps I'll start my own company to make better analogies.)

Inspiring (2, Interesting)

localman (111171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188805)

I've seen plenty of launch videos before, but watching this and hearing them cheer when the stages separate... well, it warmed my heart. It's a beautiful example of bright people getting together to do something that people thought was unreasonable my many. That is one very small organization to break free from the surface of our little planet. Congrats to them.

Escape Velocity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25188939)

Escape Velocity of the earth is 7903.51007723324515848858 m/s. They are going a bit slow here. The rough calculation is (2*G*R)^.5 where G is acceleration due to gravity (9.805 m/s), R is the radius of the earth in metres (6370777.31167031686390488), you take the product of 2, G, and R and then take the square root of all of that. Its good that the Falcon finally made it (now they can fly 30 more and make boatloads of money per trip. They also can keep an American presence on the ISS.

video? (1)

strack (1051390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25188967)

any chance anyone posted some video of the launch somewhere? spacex hasnt got it up on their site yet, and i missed the fing webcast...
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