Dot-com “thrillionaire” Elon Musk and his company SpaceX of California suffered a painful setback today when their low-cost rocket Falcon I was lost somewhere over the Pacific Ocean just seconds after its maiden launch from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Musk, the founder and former owner of PayPal, aspires to build a new generation of affordable transportation to space. “We want to be the Southwest Airlines of space launches,” he told PopSci in 2004.
The $6.7 million launch vehicle, which was carrying a U.S. Air Force FalconSat-2 satellite, cost roughly two-thirds less than satellite-launching rockets made by big-name competitors like Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
SpaceX has not yet reported the cause of the failure; check out their website for the latest updates. —Nicole Dyer