SpaceX Falcon9 Achieves Orbit
It's been nearly six years since Scaled Composites achieved the first successful spaceflight by a private company with SpaceShip1. Their rival, SpaceX, has just achieved the next milestone in commercial spaceflight by successfully placing the Falcon9 rocket into Earth orbit. SpaceX has already put other objects into space previously but this launch marks the first time their own vehicle achieved continuous orbit. There are mixed feelings within the political district regarding the coming reliance on private industry to handle space operations, which is a key part of President Obama's vision for the industry's future. This launch earned SpaceX $1.6 billion in launch contracts through NASA as the aging space shuttle fleet is due to retire. Video of the launch can be viewed at SpaceX's website in addition to other multimedia.