SpaceX made September 29, 2013 a landmark day in the history of commercial space flight with a successful launch of a new version of its Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon 9 v1.1, carrying aloft a Canadian CASSIOPE technology demonstration satellite. The new version of the Falcon 9 contained nine Merlin-1D engines, which burns an RP-1 propellant and an oxidizer. The Merlin-1D is a more advanced version of the previous Merlin-1C, with greater performance and cheaper to manufacture. As a result the two stage Falcon 9 v1.1 has the capacity to launch 28,990 lbs into low Earth orbit and 10,690 lbs into geosynchronous transfer orbit.
SpaceX will attempt to land the Falcon 9 v1.1 into the Pacific and, if it is intact, will recover it. Eventually SpaceX hopes to have a version of the first stage that will be reusable, capable of landing back near the launch pad vertically. The company has been testing a version of this rocket called Grasshopper at its research facility in McGregor, Texas.