01 June 2012

Why All the Excitement over Successful SpaceX Mission?

The first private space flight to the International Space Station has ended with a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. _Wired
The successful mission to the ISS by private space company SpaceX has been covered extensively by US and international media. In many circles, there is an excitement over the possibility of an expansion of private space activity that has not been seen since the early days of the space shuttle, or the days of the moon launches.
via Wired

... the SpaceX mission lasted 9 days, 7 hours and 58 minutes from launch to splashdown.

Elon Musk said the Dragon performed very well, exceeding expectations on some fronts, including solar panels that produced more power than expected. There were a few problems during the mission, starting with an aborted first launch attempt as the Falcon 9′s rocket engines were starting. A problem with the Dragon’s laser range-finding device that caused some unplanned maneuvers during the approach to the station was also fixed, according to Musk. He says the device was checked as Dragon moved away from the ISS this morning, and appeared to be working well.

With the success of the demonstration mission, SpaceX now needs the official confirmation from NASA, and then it will begin fulfilling cargo resupply missions to the ISS later this year. The company has a contract for 12 cargo missions while it continues to develop the manned version of Dragon for flying astronauts to the ISS and elsewhere in low Earth orbit. _Wired
Overall, the SpaceX mission is being seen as an overwhelming success, likely opening the door to further private space activity by a growing number of private space contractors. But why is private space activity -- as opposed to governmental and intergovernmental space activity -- so exciting to many?

A large scale, for-profit development of outer space resources (PDF) is seen as the best argument against the resource scarcity doom mentality of lefty-Luddite green dieoff.orgiast catastrophists who populate governments, media bureaus and corporations, and universities across the western world. It is the self-limited thinking of the dieoff.org crowd which has convinced so many leftist greens that the only way to save the Earth is by drastically reducing the human population of the planet by 90% or more.

With the coming of for-profit groups such as SpaceX, Planetary Resources, Stratolaunch, and a growing number of private space enterprises, the possibility for the movement of human enterprise -- and humans themselves -- far beyond the gravitational and resource limits of planet Earth, suddenly seems much closer and more real.

We have an open time window of about two decades in which to move ahead. If the US can eject its current government of energy starvationists and anti-private sector zealots, and re-build a solid economic infrastructure -- including safe, clean, reliable, and affordable gen III and gen IV nuclear reactor designs at all scales -- the road into the future will be much better paved than at present.

Threats to the future remain, both internal and external. Those will have to be dealt with as necessary. But if more western youth are raised with a positive and constructive vision of the future -- instead of a green dieoff indoctrination -- we will be on the right path.

It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood.

More: Interesting analysis of SpaceX success from Rand Simberg

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Blogger Matt M said...

Just one footnote. While SpaceX is a commercial venture, they did receive over a billion dollars in loans, grants and support from the US govt. It is important to remember that Elon Musk is / was an Obama bundler. However, unlike the president of Solyndra, Musk's organization appears to have been worth the investment.

Monday, 04 June, 2012  
Blogger Dan Kurt said...

What about Orbital Sciences Corp? They have been launching space missions for about 30 years and are approaching 400 successful ones.

Dan Kurt

Tuesday, 05 June, 2012  
Blogger Ugh said...

MattM - I'm not any less impressed with the whole venture because gov't money helped grease the skids. The mighty railroads of the 19th century needed gov't as did the auto nation of the 20th century in the form of roads and bridges and such.

This venture was one small step in preparation for giant leaps to come. This is an exciting chapter in space travel.

Thursday, 07 June, 2012  

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