Falcon 9 v. 1.1 launch a successSeptember 29, 2013
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.