SpaceX passed a major milestone in its quest to become a space transportation company when it launched the SES-8 communications satellite from the Kennedy Space Center on December 3, 2013. It is the first time that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has launched a satellite to a geostationary transfer orbit.
Thus far the SpaceX Falcon 9 has been best known as the rocket that launches the Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station. It has now proven that it can compete in the bread and butter business for space launch companies, launching satellites. Falcon 9 will now compete with a variety of launch vehicles for that business, including the European Ariane 5.
Incidentally the Falcon 9 launch is the second of three flights required for certification of the rocket to launch payloads for the United States Air Force. Once it has completed its third certification flight, SpaceX will be able to compete for national security payloads.