SpaceX orbits success with Falcon 1

Privately developed rocket has been launched into space and has begun orbiting Earth, a success that comes after three previous failures.

Dawn Kawamoto
Dawn Kawamoto Former Staff writer, CNET News
Dawn Kawamoto covered enterprise security and financial news relating to technology for CNET News.

A privately developed rocket is now orbiting the Earth.

Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 1 launched into orbit at 4:15 p.m. PDT Sunday from Omelek Island, which is in the Kwajalein Atoll, about 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Just over nine minutes later, the Falcon 1 reached orbit, the company said.

Falcon 1 lifts off on Sunday. SpaceX

The successful launch comes after the company, better known as SpaceX, had suffered three unsuccessful attempts over the past two years.

Elon Musk, the company's founder and CEO, called the launch a "great day for SpaceX."

"The data shows we achieved a super precise orbit insertion--middle of the bull's eye--and then went on to coast and restart the second stage, which was icing on the cake," Musk, who is also co-founder and former head of online payment company PayPal, said in a statement.

Musk said it is the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth.

The rocket carries a payload mass simulator developed by SpaceX, which is aiming for private space transportation and deliveries.

Click here for SpaceX's video of the launch.