Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2010 June 8

Falcon 9 Launches to Orbit
Credit & Copyright: SpaceX Co.

Explanation: A new rocket, the Falcon 9, was launched successfully from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, last week. The Falcon 9, standing about as high as a 15-floor building, was developed by the commercial SpaceX corporation as a step toward a relatively inexpensive space launch system. Falcon 9's success follows successful launches of the Falcon 1 last year. Pictured above, a movie of the Falcon 9's launch includes an insect, the launch as viewed from far away, and images from the side of the vehicle which include the separation of the lower stage. When topped with SpaceX's Dragon Cargo or Crew capsule, the Falcon 9 may be used to lift satellites and astronauts to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station in the coming decade.

Tomorrow's picture: orange sun

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