After three unsuccessful flights, the fourth finally worked. SpaceX has managed to get their Falcon 1 space craft into space. Taking off from Kwajalein Atoll, an island in the South Pacific the Falcon 1 was able to fly into space, soaring above the International Space Station at a speed of 5200 meters per second. The flight of the Falcon 1 makes it the first ever private space craft to actually get into space.
Previous Falcon 1 flights have ended in failure. The third flight of the Falcon 1 ended in failure after just over three minutes when the release of the first stage rockets ended with a problem. The second flight lasted for seven and a half minutes, and the first one lasting less than one minute. SpaceX plans for more flights in 2009, hoping to get their Falcon 9 space craft in orbit during the next year.
With the Falcon 1 launching successfully, and the first Chinese space walk it seems space has become important again. Perhaps with more launches from SpaceX civilian space travel will be possible in the coming years. It’ll most likely be quite expensive at first, but eventually it will at least semi-affordable.