SpaceX, a private company established by Elon Musk the founder of Paypal, has once again attempted to successfully launch a shuttle into space.
This launch comes after the failure of the Falcon 1 (Flight 3). During Flight 3, a problem occurred just after the first separation which prevented the second stage from occurring and from reaching orbit. According to their press release, "SpaceX was aware of and had allowed for a thrust transient, but did not expect it to last that long. As it turned out, a very small increase in the time between commanding main engine shutdown and stage separation would have been enough to save the mission. The fix was also very simple, requiring one line of code to be changed."
The Falcon 1 (Flight 4) is carrying only a payload mass simulator of approximately 364 pounds, the last doomed shuttle was carrying the Trailblazer, two CubeSats (one of which was NASA's NanoSail-D) for the Air Force and MDA and unfortunately, also carried the remains of astronaut Gordon Cooper and the actor James Doohan from Star Trek.
At T+4 minutes into the launch, the Falcon 1 (Flight 4) was at an altitude of 200km and had successfully completed two separations without exploding!
At T+10 minutes the launch has been considered successful and opens the door for the privatization of the exploration of space.
Congratulations to SpaceX for their first successful launch and for making history in being the first private corporation to put a rocket into orbit!