As a longtime cheerleader of private spaceflight company SpaceX, I’m absolutely thrilled to announce this morning that the second launch of their Falcon 9 rocket was completely successful. Its payload was the new Dragon spacecraft, also developed by SpaceX; the Dragon made several complete orbits of the Earth and successfully re-entered the atmosphere a few hours after launch.
To quote SpaceX’s press release,
This marks the first time a commercial company has successfully recovered a spacecraft reentering from low-Earth orbit. It is a feat performed by only six nations or government agencies: the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, and the European Space Agency.
I think this is a huge deal. It could easily just be my own biases speaking here, but I think it’s almost a no-brainer to say that the future of spaceflight lies in the private sector. NASA’s mandate to “storm heaven” and push boundaries, but it’s beyond the scope of their job to fully develop these newly-opened frontiers. For that, we need private companies.
A lot of pundits are talking about commercial spaceflight in the context of NASA’s plans for the future of spaceflight, as if NASA were still the major player in that field. Truth is, when the STS program is retired next year, not only will NASA be totally out of the human spaceflight game except for ISS, they’ll still be a decade away from getting back into it. It’s going to be the commercial programs carrying the human spaceflight flag into the 2010s. And that’s a good thing.
There’s not a lot to talk about writing-wise. I’ve been keeping to my 2,250 words per day goal, and my story has been moving along at a brisk clip. It’s gratifying to pull that kind of word count even when I’m feeling tired or not into it. If I ever make it big time, it’ll be because of that attitude. Also, not feeling into it encourages me to write interesting stuff. Otherwise why would I bother?