March 31, 2017
I never thought I’d live to see the day, but Elon Musk just launched a rocket that didn’t explode.
First time for everything.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX flew a reused rocket to space and back again, a key milestone to reducing launch costs and one day enabling people to live on other planets.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rumbled aloft, deposited a customer’s satellite into orbit, stuck its landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean and drew raucous cheers from the crowd gathered Thursday at the company’s California headquarters. The moment was 15 years in the making for Musk, who founded SpaceX with the eventual goal of colonizing Mars.
“This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight,” Musk, 45, said from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Much of the expense of space travel lies in building engines, capsules and other equipment that are typically used once and then discarded. Billionaires including Musk and Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos are racing to make rocket reusability — once dismissed as a crazy idea — a reality that will dramatically reduce costs.
Closely held Space Exploration Technologies Corp. builds its rockets and engines in-house, wagering this better enables constant improvements and tighter collaboration on design and manufacturing. The rocket launched Thursday carried a communications satellite from Luxembourg’s SES SA that will provide coverage to Latin America.
The reused rocket first took off and landed successfully on an unmanned drone ship bobbing in the Atlantic back in April 2016. The company has now recovered nine rockets in total, three by land and six by sea.
Musk is working with Trump now.
I’m okay with this, I guess. He’s not good at anything that matters, but he is good at marketing himself, and at this point, people take him seriously as a space guy. So at least as a symbol, he’s useful.
We need way more space stuff going on, ASAP.