Yesterday afternoon on Omelek Island, private company SpaceX launched Falcon 1. The rocket traveled 200 miles into and above our atmosphere before spinning out of control. Video feed then terminated.
Falcon 1 was a success and a failure. The vast majority of the new technology worked and only that last bit-5%-wasn't quite get up to snuff. Still, this is another notable step into making space travel more available to the common people.
SpaceX was created by Elon Musk, the co-founder of PayPal, with the expressed intent on making rocket launches cheaper. One of Musk's strategies to accomplish this is the scaling down of the firm's bureaucracy. Using only about 200 employees, Musk is taking quite a different approach than the bureaucracy heavy organizations of Lockheed Martin, Boeing and NASA. I doubt they'll learn anything when SpaceX is finally successful but hopefully other entreprenuers will and the space industry will transform as much as the computer industry has over the past fifty years.