Low-cost SpaceX rocket launch test fails

August 3, 2008 5:39:57 PM PDT
SpaceX engineers are investigating the cause of Saturday's failed flight of the Falcon 1, a low-cost, light-lift rocket developed by the Southern California-based company.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a news release that a problem occurred causing the rocket's two stages to remain together instead of separating after the launch from a Central Pacific atoll.

However, he described the launch, powered by the company's new Merlin engine, as "picture perfect."

SpaceX is developing the single-engine Falcon 1, the nine-engine Falcon 9, the 27-engine Heavy Falcon and the Dragon cargo-crew capsule to fly to the international space station when the current space shuttle fleet retires in 2010.


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