Back from the Drawing Board

SpaceX has finally chalked up a success with its Falcon 1 launch vehicle. The company announced that on September 28 it launched a Falcon 1 from Kwajalein Atoll, carrying into orbit a payload mass simulator of approximately 364 lbs. Consisting of a hexagonal aluminum alloy chamber 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall, the payload remains attached to the second stage as it orbits Earth.

There had been several previous failures. Last time the first and second stages bumped into one another after separation, resulting in the loss of three government satellites and human ashes including the remains of Scotty and Gordo.

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