SpaceX Sets August 2 for Falcon 1 launch

Sat Aug 2, 2008 1:38pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

First Privately Developed Liquid Fuel Rocket to Orbit
HAWTHORNE, Calif.--(Business Wire)--
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has scheduled the
launch of the Falcon 1 Flight 3 mission for Saturday, August 2nd. The
launch window will open at 4:00 p.m. (PDT) / 7:00 p.m. (EDT) and
remain open for five hours. If launch is delayed for any reason,
SpaceX has range availability to resume countdown through August 5.

   Lift-off of the vehicle will occur from SpaceX's Falcon 1 launch
site at the Kwajalein Atoll, about 2500 miles southwest of Hawaii.
Falcon 1 launch facilities are situated on Omelek Island, part of the
Reagan Test Site (RTS) at United States Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA)
in the Central Pacific.

   Designed from the ground up by SpaceX at headquarters in
Hawthorne, Calif., Falcon 1 is a two-stage, liquid oxygen and
rocket-grade kerosene powered launch vehicle. The first stage is
powered by a single SpaceX Merlin 1C Regenerative engine - flying for
the first time on this Flight 3 mission. A "hold before liftoff"
system enhances reliability by permitting all systems to be verified
as functioning nominally before launch is initiated. The Falcon 1
second stage is powered by a single SpaceX Kestrel engine.

   Falcon 1 is the first new orbital rocket in more than a decade.
Merlin is the first new American hydrocarbon engine for an orbital
booster to be flown in more than 40 years and only the second new
American engine of any kind in more than a quarter century. After
achieving orbit, Falcon 1 will be the first privately developed,
liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth.

   The primary customers for the Falcon 1 launch are the Department
of Defense, Government of Malaysia and NASA. Falcon 1 is carrying a
payload stack of three separating satellites that will orbit at an
inclination of 9 degrees:

   --  The Trailblazer satellite was developed by SpaceDev of Poway,
        Calif., for the Jumpstart Program of DoD's Operationally
        Responsive Space (ORS) Office, as a test platform to validate
        the hardware, software and processes of an accelerated
        microsatellite launch. Trailblazer is deployed from the Falcon
        1 second stage shortly after the shut-down of the second stage
        engine, about 10 minutes into flight.

   --  Deploying four to eight minutes later will be two NASA small
        satellites: PRESat, a micro laboratory from NASA's Ames
        Research Center, and then NanoSail-D, which will unfurl an
        ultra-thin solar sail, developed by NASA's Marshall Space
        Flight Center, in collaboration with NASA Ames Research

   --  The three separating satellites attach to the Falcon 1 second
        stage via the Secondary Payload Adaptor and Separation System,
        (SPASS), developed by ATSB, a company owned by the Government
        of Malaysia that develops and commercializes space technology.
        The SPASS was engineered by Space Access Technologies of
        Ashburn, Va.

   SpaceX will provide live coverage of the Falcon 1 Flight 3 mission
via webcast at: The webcast will begin 30 minutes
prior to launch and will include mission briefings, live feeds and
launch coverage from the launch site at the Kawjalein Atoll, as well
as a special video tour of SpaceX facilities by Elon Musk, CEO and

   Post-launch, high resolution B-roll video footage and photos will
be available for download by contacting:

   About SpaceX

   SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to
increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and
unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With its
Falcon line of launch vehicles, powered by internally-developed Merlin
engines, SpaceX offers light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to
deliver spacecraft into any altitude and inclination, from low-Earth
to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions. SpaceX currently has 12
missions on its manifest, excluding the two previous Falcon 1
demonstration flights, plus indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity
(IDIQ) contracts with NASA and the US Air Force.

   As a winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services
competition (COTS), SpaceX is in a position to help fill the gap in
American spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) when the
Space Shuttle retires in 2010. Under the existing Agreement, SpaceX
will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and
Dragon spacecraft for NASA, culminating in Dragon berthing with the
ISS. NASA also has an option to demonstrate crew services to the ISS
using the Falcon 9 / Dragon system. SpaceX is the only COTS contender
that has the capability to return pressurized cargo and crew to Earth.
The first Falcon 9 will arrive at the SpaceX launch site (complex 40)
at Cape Canaveral by the end of 2008 in preparation for its maiden

   Founded in 2002, the SpaceX team now numbers over 500, located
primarily in Hawthorne, California, with four additional locations:
SpaceX's Texas Test Facility in McGregor near Waco; offices in
Washington DC; and launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and
the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific.

Diane Murphy, 310-363-6714 (o) or 424-236-0884 (m)
VP Marketing and Communications

Copyright Business Wire 2008
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