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On This Day In Space: June 4, 2010: SpaceX’s 1st Falcon 9 rocket reaches orbit

On June 4, 2010, SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and successfully reached orbit, marking a historic first for the private spaceflight company.

SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) was founded in 2002 by billionaire Elon Musk, an internet entrepreneur who co-founded PayPal and leads Tesla Motor

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off on its maiden flight from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 4, 2010.  (Image credit:

The first Falcon 9 rocket almost didn’t launch that day — the mission came close to the end of its 4-hour launch window because of an issue with the flight termination system. But SpaceX pulled off a successful launch in time, and the company was able to begin fulfilling its $1.6 billion contract with NASA to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

For its first test flight, the rocket carried a prototype Dragon spacecraft designed for cargo trips to the International Space Station. SpaceX began official NASA delivery flights with Dragon and Falcon 9 at the end of 2010.

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