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US private spacecraft company SpaceX launches upgraded Falcon rocket
by Staff Writers
Los Angeles CA (XNA) Oct 03, 2013

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U.S. private spacecraft company SpaceX launched its first new version Falcon 9 rockets from California, an ambitious test flight that also marked the company's first flight from the West Coast.

"Launch was good," SpaceX's founder and chief executive Elon Musk tweeted Sunday. "All satellites deployed at the targeted orbit insertion vectors."

The new-and-improved Falcon 9 rocket carried a Canadian space weather satellite called CASSIOPE, a multifunctional mission designed to serve both a scientific and a demonstration of technology purpose, which lifted off from Space Launch Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, about 241 km northwest of Los Angeles at 9:00 a.m. local time (1600 GMT).

During SpaceX's launch webcast, the rocket's first stage appeared to separate smoothly from the second stage and fell away as planned. The second stage then ignited on schedule.

With the complete development of the first rocket, Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed by SpaceX for the reliable and cost-efficient transport of satellites and SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft.

Today's upgraded Falcon 9 has engines that are 60 percent more powerful than previous versions, longer fuel tanks, new avionics, new software and other features intended to boost lift capacity and simplify operations for commercial service.

Privately owned SpaceX has been working to develop technology for a complete reusable rocket launch system. The company has contracts for more than 50 launches of its new Falcon 9 and planned Falcon Heavy rockets.

In addition to launching small satellites for non-U.S. government agencies and commercial satellite operators, SpaceX has a 1.6 billion U.S. dollar contract with NASA to make a dozen unmanned missions to resupply the International Space Station.

Source: Xinhua News Agency


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