Paypal founder's home-made rocket reaches space

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Falcom 1, a privately-developed rocket ship built by Paypal co-founder Elon Musk's company SpaceX, finally made it into orbit on its fourth attempt on Sunday

After launching from Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific, rocket seemed to perform flawlessly to achieve an orbital velocity of approximately 5,200 meters per second and pass above the International Space Station without hitting it.

The launch was webcast live and will be repeated here when SpaceX gets its act together.

Falcon 1's first-stage Merlin 1C and second-stage Kestrel engines are powered by burning highly refined kerosene and liquid oxygen.

Three previous attempts had failed for various reasons at between one and seven and a half minutes of flight.

The rocklet carried a simulated payload into orbit and will later be used for further cluttering up space with spy satellites or intergalactic Ebay transactions, we presume.

The company plans a larger rocket ship named Falcon 9 capable of lifting 9,900kg into low Earth orbit or 4,900kg to higher geostationary transfer orbit. It also plans a later Falcon 9 Heavy model to boost even larger payloads into orbit, as well as a pressurised spacecraft it calls Dragon. ยต (c) 2010 Incisive Media

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