SpaceX has reported that its Falcon 9 rocket complete with dummy payload has made it into orbit with 99 per cent accuracy. PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, who ploughed large amounts of the money he made from the sale into the SpaceX venture, described the launch as a "near bull's eye" operation.
But it's not just good news for SpaceX. Nasa is relying on the company to replace its aging shuttle fleet and the Falcon 9 will be able to carry payloads into orbit for a fraction of the cost of the Space Shuttle. SpaceX will charge around $50m for a launch, compared to $130m for Nasa's proposed Ares rocket and almost a billion for a shuttle launch.
"Space X's accomplishment is an important milestone in the commercial transportation effort and puts the company a step closer to providing cargo services to the International Space Station," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
"This launch of the Falcon 9 gives us even more confidence that a resupply vehicle will be available after the space shuttle fleet is retired."
The Falcon 9 can carry seven astronauts or a significant payload of cargo and can be guided into the international Space Station by remote control.
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