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Millionaire's Phallic Rocket Fails to Perform

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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PERFORMANCE ANXIETY Falcon-1, Musk

Elon Musk, space entrepreneur, PayPal creator, and shameless promoter of alternative energy, spent the day today fishing his 70-foot rocket, Falcon-1, out of the Pacific. This is Musk's second attempt at getting Falcon-1 off the ground: last year a fuel leak terminated the launch after a confidence-killing 29 seconds, bringing to mind Angie Dickinson's fling with space-race pioneer John F. Kennedy.

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This time Falcon-1, which costs a cool $7 million to launch, made it 200 miles before "an unexpected roll" prompted an early shutdown. Musk tried to downplay his Falcon's poor performance (this never happens to him, seriously), and already has his engineers analyzing the data.

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