On September 28, 2008, Space X became the first private company to place a liquid fueled rocked into orbit.
Even super cooler is the fact that they put a web-cam on the rocket and created a video set to Crystal Method’s “High Roller.”
This was the fourth attempt by the company to get their Falcon 1 rocket into orbit and while it was obviously important for Space X, it turns out to be important for NASA as well.
As it happens, there will be a gap in time between the retirement of the existing shuttle fleet and the launching of the Ares rockets that will replace them. In order to service the International Space Station in the meantime, NASA was going to rely on Russian rockets – something that would have required a waiver to an existing law preventing the use of Russian technology.
Now that Space X has proven their capability, NASA has publicly stated that they prefer to use US companies instead of foreign agencies. In reality, the Russians will certainly fill at least part of the gap but the private space age is upon us and that’s certainly a game changer.
In skewed celebrity news, the August 2, 2008 launch attempt of the Falcon 1 contained the ashes of 208 people including James Doohan who played Scotty on Star Trek as well as Gordon Cooper, one of the original Mercury astronauts. Sadly, that rocket disintegrated during liftoff.