SpaceX’s latest rocket launch a success after recent setbacks

Eric Pfeiffer

SpaceX added another historic mission to its resume with the successful launch of its Falcon 9 rocket with a $100 million SES-8 satellite in tow.

This was the seventh official launch in the Falcon 9 series and takes SpaceX, run by founder Elon Musk, one step closer to its ultimate goal of transporting humans into space by 2017.

The successful launch came from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday afternoon after two previous attempts were canceled in recent weeks.

"The entry of SpaceX into the commercial market is a game-changer," SES chief technology officer Martin Halliwell said in a recent teleconference. "It's going to really shake the industry to its roots."

SpaceX has said the goal of the launch is to take a payload to a predetermined “geostationary” location 50,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. The 224.4 foot tall rocket can be used to carry cargo payloads or SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft into orbit.

“Meeting this national priority for an American human space transportation capability is paramount for SpaceX and we are very focused on this for our NASA customer,” reads an explanation on the company’s site.

And having NASA as a paying customer surely is one of SpaceX's most public accomplishments.

So how much does it cost to launch your own private payload into space? About $56.5 million, according to SpaceX’s price index listed on its site. And that's part of SpaceX's commercial appeal, beating comparable offers from Russia ($100 million) and European ventures ($200 million), according to the Houston Chronicle. Although heavier payloads can run the cost up to $135 million.