On July 13, 2009, SpaceX
became the first company to launch a satellite
into orbit on a privately financed liquided
fueled rocket. The Falcon
I vehicle rose from the Pacific island
of Omelek in the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll
and put the Malaysian earth observation
into precisely the intended orbit. See the
This accomplishment is a major milestone
for the NewSpace
industry, which seeks to bring the cost
of space access way down. The ultimate goal
is to reduce space transportation costs
to a level that allows lots of people to
go to space and eventually allows for the
building of permanent settlements there.
See this SpaceX
FAQ for a discussion of how the company
is achieving lower cost spaceflight.
Below is a video that begins just before
the launch and continues through liftoff
and then into views from cameras attached
to the rocket during the flight. It ends
after the second stage engine cuts off.
The second stage continued on for about
an hour in a parking orbit before the engine
restarted to boost itself into the final
orbit where it released the satellite.
Check out also this big
set of photos from the launch.