SpaceX launches rocket in successful test

June 4, 2010 at 10:19 PM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., June 4 (UPI) -- The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched into orbit Friday from Cape Canaveral in Florida, opening what could be a new era of private space flight.

SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk, the man responsible for PayPal and Tesla Motors. The company plans to follow up Friday's test with the launch during the summer of an operational rocket, then send a spacecraft to the International Space Station next year, The Washington Post reported.

President Obama's plans for the U.S. space program include a much bigger role for commercial flights. After the launch, Charles Bolden Jr., administrator of the National Atmospheric and Space Administration, said SpaceX had achieved an "important milestone in the commercial transportation effort, and puts the company a step closer to providing cargo services to the International Space Station."

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