Early morning on Tuesday, July 14 at 03:35 UTC SpaceX started a new and exciting chapter in spaceflight history by successfully launching Falcon 1, the first ever privately developed rocket, into a stable Earth’s orbit from the SpaceX’s launch pad on Omelek Island, at Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Falcon 1 carries Malaysia’s satellite RazakSAT with a high-resolution camera on board. SpaceX has set another milestone after the success story of the SpaceShipOne which completed the first ever privately funded (sub-orbital) human spaceflight on June 21, 2004.
Founded in 2002, the SpaceX team has now over 700 members who work on developing a family of launch vehicles and spacecrafts intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation. With the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 vehicles, SpaceX offers highly reliable/cost-efficient launch capabilities for spacecraft insertion into any orbital altitude and inclination.
Starting in 2010, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will provide Earth–to-LEO transport of pressurized and unpressurized cargo, including resupply to the space station. One of the Detailed Test Objectives (DTO) of the STS-127 mission, delayed for the fifth time due to weather, is the investigation of “DragonEye” – a pulsed laser navigation senser that SpaceX’s Dragon vehilce will use to approach the ISS.