The first engine test for the Falcon 9 booster.
See video of test.
Elon Musk recently posted "another
monster update" on progress at SpaceX,
the startup space transport company. The update
included the latest news about the Falcon
9, their large vehicle intended for big payloads
such as communications satellites. In 2006 the
company won a COTS
(Commercial Orbital Transportation Services) contract
with NASA to assist development of the vehicle
so that it can also be used to deliver cargo to
the International Space Station. Using the Dragon
capsule, the Falcon 9 will eventually be able
to carry crews to the ISS as well as to other
destinations such as the Bigelow
The first flight of the Falcon 9 is currently
planned for late in 2008. If all goes well with
three subsequent COTS demonstration flights, the
vehicle will be declared operational by 2010.
The smaller Falcon
1 vehicle is scheduled to have its first operational
flight in the Spring of 2008. See the launch
The goal of SpaceX is to offer the lowest cost
access to space of any rocket company in the world.