Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) Falcon 1 rocket reached 322km (200 miles) altitude on its second demonstration launch before a second stage roll control failure led it to de-orbit into the Pacific ocean. SpaceX has released this video of the launch and flight.
With lift off at 1210h 21 March local time, 0110 GMT, the Falcon 1 ascended past its maximum dynamic pressure point, successfully achieved stage separation, second stage ignition and separation of its fairing. But when the second stage failed to achieve full orbital velocity, due to a roll excitation late in the engine burn, the uncontrolled descent began.
The Falcon 1's first demonstration launch on 24 March 2006 ended 29s into the flight due to a fuel leak fire induced automatic engine shutdown.
"The [second demonstration] launch was not perfect, but certainly pretty good. All in all, this test has flight proven 95+ percent of the Falcon 1 systems, which bodes really well for our upcoming flights of Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, which uses similar hardware. We do not expect any significant delay in the upcoming flights at this point. The department of defense (Dod) satellite launch is currently scheduled for [the third quarter] and the Malaysian satellite for the [fourth quarter]," says SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk.
The Falcon 1 first and second demonstration flights were paid for by the Dod's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the US Air Force.