Falcon 1, a privately funded space rocket successfully took off this afternoon at around 6:15 p.m. PDT, from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshal Islands.
This marks the second attempt, when the first attempt almost a year ago suffered an engine fire and crashed less than a minute after takeoff.
This time the rocket made a successful first stage separation, with the second stage delivering its demo-satellite payload into orbit. [Ernie, however, saw the first stage thump the second stage nozzle. And it sure looks like it on reviewing the video.]
Preliminary indications indicate a entirely nominal flight. [From Space.com: "... suffered a roll control malfunction 186 miles above Earth before completing its flight plan, its builders said. The rocket was intended to end its mission about 10 minutes after liftoff at an altitude of about 425 miles.... The roll control glitch affected how the Falcon 1 booster's second stage controlled itself in flight, sending the vehicle on a path that likely reentered the Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean without completing a full orbit."]
Watch the video of the launch from the cameras on board and at the site will be available on the SpaceX.com web site, as well as a preliminary report.
http://kwajrockets.blogspot.com/ [run by the founder’s brother, Kimbel]