This is but one of many spectacular photos of SpaceX’s successful first launch of the Falcon 9 rocket:
At 2:45 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 4, 2010, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) successfully launched its first Falcon 9 rocket from Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The inaugural liftoff, which placed a mockup of the company’s Dragon crew and cargo spacecraft into orbit, came on the second launch attempt of the day after a last-second scrub.
“We put our Falcon 9 rocket into orbit, it achieved a near bullseye on the target. We would have been excited even to have the first stage work or get some of the way through the second stage burn,” said SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk. “It has been a great day.”
Let us hope this heralds the dawn of a bright new era of commercial spaceflight. (Thanks to collectSPACE/Robert Z. Pearlman for the lovely photo gallery!)