A Malaysian satellite rode a Falcon 1 rocket into orbit Monday night, marking the first time the privately-developed booster has successfully launched an operational spacecraft.
The 70-foot-tall rocket was making its fifth flight. Three of its four previous launches failed, dooming two small military satellites.
But SpaceX, the California-based company that developed the launcher, scored its second straight success Monday, almost nine months after the Falcon 1 first reached orbit last year.
"We nailed the orbit to well within target parameters, pretty much a bullseye," Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, told Spaceflight Now.
Musk confirmed Malaysia's RazakSAT satellite separated from the Falcon 1's upper stage and is communicating with ground controllers.
Monday's launch was the first time the company hauled a customer's satellite into o
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