The switch to a “commercial” space program scored an impressive win with the successful launch of the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket carrying a dummy Dragon spacecraft into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 2:45 p.m. on 4 June 2010. This first test flight of the new Falcon 9 rocket successfully carried out almost all of its mission objectives. SpaceX hopes to use the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft to carry cargo and, eventually, people to the International Space Station among other uses. The launch occurred near the end of its four-hour window after several delays due to technical problems and a stray sailboat entering the restricted part of the range. Thank you to Jens Tripson for providing invaluable off-site launch coverage.

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