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SpaceX Achieves Orbital Bullseye with Inaugural Flight of Falcon 9 Rocket

Launch Date: June 4, 2010

Cape Canaveral, Florida – June 7, 2010 – SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp.) announced that the inaugural flight of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle successfully launched and achieved Earth orbit right on target, marking a key milestone for SpaceX and the commercial space flight industry.

Preliminary data indicates that Falcon 9 achieved all of its primary mission objectives, culminating in a nearly perfect insertion of the second stage and Dragon spacecraft qualification unit into the targeted 250 km (155 mi) circular orbit. SpaceX also gathered important aerodynamic data during ascent and vehicle performance, which will be used in final preparations for the upcoming NASA demonstration and missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX currently has an extensive and diverse manifest of over 30 contracted missions, including 18 missions to deliver commercial satellites to orbit. In addition, the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft have been contracted by NASA to carry cargo, which includes live plants and animals, to and from the ISS.

Falcon 9 lifted off at 2:45 p.m. (EDT) / 18:45 (UTC) from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station located on the Atlantic coast of Florida, approximately 5.5 km (3.5 mi) southeast of NASA’s space shuttle launch site. The Falcon 9 launch vehicle is powered by a cluster of nine SpaceX-designed and developed Merlin engines. Using ultra pure jet fuel and liquid oxygen, the engines generated nearly a million pounds of thrust for the vehicle upon liftoff. View a high definition liftoff video clip here.

Spacex.com. Ed. Emily Shanklin. SpaceX. Web. 13 July, 2010.