Falcon 1 Rocket Launch OK, then…



SpaceX’s second demo flight was a success, reaching 300 km in altitude. The first stage went well, but then contact was lost. As always, SpaceFlightNow.com gave us the news as it unfolded:

Some quotes from the media briefing with Elon Musk following tonight’s launch:

Question: what is the fate of the second stage?

"We didn’t achieve the desired orbit. But at this point I don’t exactly know the fate of the second stage. We got to 300 km. That’s about all I know at this point."

"All that I can say for sure right now is it’s not in the intended orbit. The likelihood is that it re-entered after probably half an orbit or so."

"The roll-control anomaly did cause the second stage to shut off prematurely. So that’s not achieving the intended orbit. However, I would say we’ve retired probably in excess of 90 percent of risk associated with the rocket. And it is worth noting, this was a test launch not a satellite launch."

Elon Musk‘s brother said it best via this blog post. More photos here.



He’s right: entering space is a success — all the riskiest aspects were well done. They’ll probably learn much from this experience and the next one will be perfect. Hey, they might even be able to recover the first stage and use it again!