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Falcon 9 v. 1.1 launch a success

September 29, 2013

Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. - An upgraded Falcon 9 rocket carrying a small science satellite for Canada blasted off from a newly refurbished launch pad in California today for a key test flight. The company is developing the rocket to  fly cargo and crew to the International Space Station for NASA, carry commercial and non-U.S. government satellites into orbit at a cut-rate price and break a monopoly by Lockheed Martin and Boeing's United Launch Alliance partnership for the U.S. military's business. Vandenberg AFB CA. Sept 29,2013. REUTERS/Gene Blevins  (UNITEDSTATES)

The updated version of the SpaceX Falcon 9, with extended fuel tanks and redesigned engines, successfully launched from Vandenberg AFB today. It put a Canadian weather satellite into a polar orbit, along with five other small satellites. SpaceX will attempt to recover the first stage from the Pacific if possible, paving the way for developing a completely reusable stage that will soft-land vertically. There is a beautiful graphic on the SpaceX site that shows the redesigned vehicle, including some very cool-looking fairings designed to hold the landing legs that later models will have. As you might imagine from the company headed by the same man that heads Telsa Motors, the new design including the fairings looks very aerodynamic, in a new-Star Trek-Enterprise sort of way. From the blue LED lighting inside the Dragon spacecraft to these fairings, SpaceX is doing what it can to make commercial spaceflight not only viable, but stylish.

 

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