Failed rocket launch disappoints experts

Aug. 3, 2008 at 12:46 PM
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HAWTHORNE, Calif., Aug. 3 (UPI) -- The founder of a privately funded space transportation company in California says he is disappointed by its third consecutive failed rocket launch.

The Wall Street Journal said the failure has prompted concerns about how space officials will handle the possibility they may not be able to rely on inexpensive Falcon launchers from Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

Internet mogul Elon Musk, started the company, also called SpaceX, six years ago after eBay purchased his Internet payment company, PayPal, for $1.5 billion, The New York Times reported.

Musk said it was "a big disappointment not to reach orbit" Saturday, adding that an unfortunate "problem occurred with stage separation, causing the stages to be held together."

Musk said the company was investigating what went wrong with the Falcon 1 launch, which took place at the Kwajalein Atoll in the western Pacific Ocean.

The newspaper said two previous Falcon 1 launches, in 2006 and 2007, also were unsuccessful.

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