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SpaceX has made history. Its privately developed rocket has made it into space.
After three failed launches, the company founded by Elon Musk worked all of the bugs out of their Falcon 1 launch vehicles.
The entire spectacle was broadcast live from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Cameras mounted on the spacecraft showed our planet shrinking in the distance and the empty first stage engine falling back to Earth.
As the rocket ascended, cheers rang out during every crucial step of the launch sequence, and at the final stage their headquarters in Hawthorne, California erupted in excitement. (Wired.com viewed the launch over the Internet on SpaceX's live webcast.)
The tensest moment came just before stage separation. At that critical juncture, the third launch attempt had failed. This time, it worked out perfectly.
Eight minutes after leaving the ground, Falcon 1 reached a speed of 5200 meters per second and passed above the International Space Station.