Update: Here's a statement from Elon Musk after the event.
SpaceX, the space technology firm created by PayPal co-founder and Tesla Motors chairman Elon Musk, is webcasting the launch of its Falcon 1 as I type this blog post. The long run-up to the launch may be a bit boring to watch, but if you are having a lazy Saturday afternoon as I am, I do suggest this as more entertaining veg-out viewing than, say, Project Runway or The Girls Next Door. And, seriously: If they're successful, this will become the first privately developed liquid fuel vehicle to orbit our planet. So that's pretty neat.
Snip from press release:
Lift-off of the vehicle will occur from SpaceX’s Falcon 1 launch site at the Kwajalein Atoll, about 2500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Falcon 1 launch facilities are situated on Omelek Island, part of the Reagan Test Site (RTS) at United States Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) in the Central Pacific.
Designed from the ground up by SpaceX at headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., Falcon 1 is a two-stage, liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene powered launch vehicle. The first stage is powered by a single SpaceX Merlin 1C Regenerative engine – flying for the first time on this Flight 3 mission. A “hold before liftoff” system enhances reliability by permitting all systems to be verified as functioning nominally before launch is initiated. The Falcon 1 second stage is powered by a single SpaceX Kestrel engine.
Falcon 1 is the first new orbital rocket in more than a decade. Merlin is the first new American hydrocarbon engine for an orbital booster to be flown in more than 40 years and only the second new American engine of any kind in more than a quarter century.
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