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Emily LakdawallaDecember 8, 2010

SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9; orbits, returns Dragon capsule

EDIT 3:30 pm: added a cool parachute pic to the bottom!

"Falcon 9 nailed it!" said Bill Nye said this morning, congratulating SpaceX on what has looked like a flawless launch, orbit, and return of the Dragon capsule aboard its Falcon 9 rocket. I've been watching the news via Spaceflight Now (and a bajillion people on Twitter). During the launch, every other word I heard from the control room was "nominal." The separation of Dragon from the second stage, viewed from a rocket-mounted camera, was picture-perfect. And it looks like the parachute-assisted return of the capsule has gone perfectly.

Yay!

Falcon 9 launches, December 8, 2010

Justin Ray / Spaceflight Now

Falcon 9 launches, December 8, 2010
Falcon 9 second stage firing, December 8, 2010

SpaceX via space.com

Falcon 9 second stage firing, December 8, 2010
Falcon 9's second stage fires to place the Dragon capsule in orbit on its successful flight on December 8, 2010.

Read more: commercial spaceflight, rockets

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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