The Falcon 9 has been the dream of Elon Musk since he was little, and yesterday that dream came true with the PayPal millionaire’s rocket launch success at Kennedy Space Station. The Falcon 9, capable of taking 6 tons of cargo into space, was developed by Space X and is hoped to be a replacement for the aging space-shuttle program. Check out the full story, with pictures and video below!
Success on first launch is a feat that only 33% of NASA’s projects have ever achieved. The Falcon 9’s maiden voyage was not only successful, it was almost perfect.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who once said he would do everything in his power to support commercial space flight, said of the launch:
“Space X’s accomplishment is an important milestone in the commercial transportation effort and puts the company a step closer to providing cargo services to the International Space Station… This launch of the Falcon 9 gives us even more confidence that a resupply vehicle will be available after the space shuttle fleet is retired.”
The Planetary Society chimed with even more support for the PayPal millionaire’s rocket launch.
“It is a tremendous achievement. Hats off to our Planetary Society Board member, Elon Musk, and his SpaceX team. In advancing commercial spaceflight, today’s flight of Falcon 9 could be the first small step towards relieving NASA launchers of the burden of low-Earth orbit, thus freeing the U.S. space agency to reach new worlds. …”
But not all punters were overjoyed. Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, long a supporter of the global leadership of the U.S. space program said:
“Belated progress for one so-called commercial provider must not be confused with progress for our nation’s human spaceflight program. As a nation, we cannot place our future spaceflight on one fledgling company’s definition of success.”
A fair point. No doubt, there are many more tests that need to be passed before the Falcon 9 can be declared “man-rated.” But I think this is certainly an important step for the U.S. because commercial space flight can only help NASA’s cause. Musk states this in a speech after the launch.
“Commercial space is the only way forward. If we go with super-expensive government developments, in the absence of some massive increase in the space budget we will never do anything interesting in space. And given the enormous federal deficits both in the US and obviously in Europe, that means there will not be an interesting future in space. It’s not a path forward; it is the only path forward.”
What do you think of the success of the PayPal millionaire’s rocket launch? Is this a giant step for our nation? Or is it just an overblown minor success? Let me know in the comment section! Also, check out the awesome launch video below!