Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Brittany Sauser

SpaceX Rocket Launch in Sight

The company successfully fired the second stage engines of its Falcon 9 rocket.

  • January 6, 2010

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), a private company based in Hawthorne-CA, successfully fired the second stage engines of its Falcon 9 rocket for 329 seconds (the time intended for a full duration orbit) on Saturday. The company says that its spacecraft should be ready to take to the sky in the next couple months.

Full duration orbit insertion firing of the Falcon 9 second
stage, conducted on January 2, 2010. Credit: SpaceX

Falcon 9 is part of a family of rockets that SpaceX is developing that could fill the gap in U.S. transportation to space. The space shuttles are expected to retire in 2010 and NASA’s next launch vehicle, Ares, is not scheduled to be ready for flight until 2015.

SpaceX initially started developing its rockets for space tourism and for launching scientific and commercial satellites into orbit, and has successfully flown a previous rocket, Falcon 1. Last year, the company won a $1.6 billion contract through NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to provide the space agency with a vehicle capable of reaching the International Space Station. Commercial launch vehicles could also help reduce spaceflight costs for the U.S. government. Aboard Falcon 9 will be the company’s Dragon capsule, a spacecraft designed to carry both cargo and crew.

The maiden flight of Falcon 9 has been hit with delays–last fall the company was promising to launch the rocket by the end of 2009 after they conducted successful first stage engine firings. But the company says it will be shipping the second stage to Cape Canaveral, FL (the launch site) by the end of the month and, “depending on how well full vehicle integration goes, launch should occur one to three months later.”

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.