Skip to comments.Launch Signals New Space Race (SpaceX: world's first commercially developed space capsule)
Posted on 12/11/2010 1:21:05 PM PST by SeekAndFind
he world's first commercially developed space capsule was successfully launched into orbit and then recovered at sea Wednesday, signaling a historic move toward an era of privately operated rockets and spacecraft.
Barely eight years after Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk opened makeshift offices in suburban Los Angeles, his company accomplished something that none of the world's aerospace giantsand so far only five national space progamshave been able to achieve.
Closely held Space Exploration Technologies Corp. recovered its unmanned Dragon capsule after more than three hours of a seemingly problem-free demonstration flight, despite immense technical hurdles that many space experts and established contractors believed would take much longer to overcome.
Blasted 180 miles above the Earth from Cape Canaveral, Fla., by SpaceX's own nine-engine, 18-story Falcon 9 rocket, Dragon survived the rigors of the launch and then used its thrusters to precisely maneuver out of low-earth orbit.
The Apollo-like capsulepoised to carry cargo and perhaps eventually U.S. astronauts to the International Space Stationreached roughly 17,000 miles per hour before surviving a fiery re-entry and landing gently in the Pacific.
Dragon came close to its designated landing spot off the coast of Mexico, according to company officials, who had worried that flawless deployment and operation of it three main parachutes, each measuring 116 feet, could be the trickiest part of the mission.
Although coming at least two years later than initially projected, the flight nevertheless provided public vindication for Mr. Musk, who invested more than $100 million of his personal fortune in the company and faced hostility and sometimes even ridicule from larger companies.
There are "so many things that can go wrong" on such a flight, a smiling, sometimes tongue-tied Mr. Musk said during a press conference after the recovery. But "we didn't even have to go to any backup systems."
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
And to think that idiot Meg Whitman spent $163 million to lose to Jerry Brown. She could have spent just $63 million and started a competing rocket company at the same time and we'd be in the midst of the coolest free-market capitalist space race ever.
FWIW there is no doubt in my mind that Elon is going to earn back every dime of it over the next several years.
Its has a high barrier to entry, and most of its soverign competitors are having money problems. It ought to be very profitable.
RE: Meg Whitman
You’re closer to the cool idea than you might think.
Elon Musk started Pay Pal, which was bought by eBay. Of course Meg Whitman headed eBay when all that happened.
Back ground of Elon Musk...
Elon Musk (born June 28, 1971) is a South African-Canadian engineer, entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for co-founding PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. He is currently the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and Chairman of SolarCity.
In June 2002, Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), of which he is currently the CEO and CTO. SpaceX develops and manufactures space launch vehicles, with an emphasis on low cost and high reliability. The company’s first two launch vehicles are the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets and its first spacecraft is Dragon.
On 23 December 2008, SpaceX was awarded a $1.6 billion NASA contract for 12 flights of their Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, replacing the Space Shuttle after it retires in 2010. Initially, Falcon 9/Dragon will replace the cargo transport function of the Shuttle and astronaut transport will be handled by the Soyuz. However, SpaceX has designed Falcon 9/Dragon with astronaut transport in mind and the Augustine commission has recommended that astronaut transport be handled by commercial companies like SpaceX.
Musk views space exploration as an important step in expandingif not preservingthe consciousness of human life.
Musk has said that multiplanetary life may serve as a hedge against threats to the survival of the human species. “An asteroid or a super volcano could destroy us, and we face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, catastrophic global warming or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Humankind evolved over millions of years, but in the last sixty years atomic weaponry created the potential to extinguish ourselves. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond this green and blue ballor go extinct.”
Musk’s goal is to reduce the cost of human spaceflight by a factor of 100. He founded SpaceX with $100 million of his early fortune. He remains chief executive officer and chief technology officer of the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company.
In seven years, SpaceX has designed the family of Falcon launch vehicles and the Dragon multi-purpose spacecraft from the ground-up. In September 2009, SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket became the first privately funded liquid-fueled vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit. NASA selected SpaceX to be part of the first program that entrusts private companies to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. This contract, which has a minimum value of $1.6 billion and a maximum value of $3.1 billion, has become a cornerstone of the Space Station. In addition to these services, SpaceX’s goals include simultaneously lowering the price of orbital spaceflight and improving reliability, both by a factor of ten, while creating the first fully reusable orbital launch vehicle. In the coming years, Musk will focus on delivering astronauts to the International Space Station, and even Mars.
“Barely eight years after Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk opened makeshift offices in suburban Los Angeles, his company accomplished something that none of the world’s aerospace giantsand so far only five national space progamshave been able to achieve.”
Congratulations to Space X on a flawless mision! The rocket was also carrying several small payloads.
Now, my reason for posting. None of the world’s aerospace giants have accomplished this? I wonder who the author thinks builds all that NASA equipment? I understand the authors point but NASA didn’t build anything, contractors did.
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