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SpaceX, Elon Musk make more history with 50th Falcon 9 launch

Elon Musk hopes to reach Mars in the next decade, a goal that might seem a bit more achievable now that he's completed 50 trips to orbit in less than eight years.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has made a trip to space for the 50th time. 

The mission itself wasn't among the company's most spectacular: There was no dramatic landing of the first-stage booster, and there was no Roadster launched toward Mars. Instead, the feat involved transporting a bus-size Spanish communications satellite named Hispasat 30W-6 to orbit high above the equator.

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But the fact that Elon Musk's space company reached the milestone in less than eight years is impressive when you consider it took both the space shuttle program and the competing Atlas V rocket (now a product of United Launch Alliance) more than a decade to reach the same point.

Due to "unfavorable weather conditions in the recovery area" at sea, SpaceX made no attempt to recover the Falcon 9 that launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 12:33 a.m. Tuesday local time.  

The unrecovered booster will nonetheless go down as a footnote in the history of space, especially if Musk's master plan to make spaceflight cheap enough to get us to Mars winds up paying off in the long run.