SpaceX Puts us One Step Closer to ‘Trek’
This morning SpaceX (Owned by Elon Musk co-creator of PayPal :pictured left:) launched a Falcon 9 from the Kennedy Space Center at 10:43AM E.T. Making the company’s first big thrust forward into commercializing space. With NASA wussing out and basically giving up on trying to do anything in space other than maintain the International Space Station, and doing lab tests on safe ground, it’s going to be up to private corporations to bring humanity into the next phase of exploration.
NASA has been flying shuttles in low Earth orbit and going to and from the space station for 30 years. The administration would like to see whether private companies can do it cheaper and more efficiently, as the shuttle program is about to fly into retirement. If there was one thing that I thought Bush did right during his administration was that he gave NASA a bunch of funding and told them to put us on Mars within 20 years. Now, that is in the hands of people who are looking to profit from such an excursion.
NASA has selected SpaceX and another company, Orbital Sciences, to each develop an orbital vehicle because the United States will not have its own way to get to the space station. The United States will be renting space from the Russians aboard their Soyuz spacecraft. So YAY, we get to give the Russians money?
SpaceX is the first company to reach the launchpad. By this summer, it had spent almost $400 million to get there. SpaceX currently holds a $1.6 billion contract from NASA to transport cargo into space but not people. So it’s not like they didn’t have any incentive to get there faster, but the company has actually been doing an amazing job, much better results than NASA was ever able to achieve during the Apollo Program. I follow these guys closely, so you’ll know what happens as they develop!