Some of the wonderful things rattling around in this full brain 'o mine. UPDATED EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY (or at least twice a week)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

SpaceX Successfully Launches Falcon 1 Rocket

Privately owned space exploration company SpaceX moments ago successfully launched its Falcon 1 rocket. The rocket was developed entirely by SpaceX. According to company founder Elon Musk, who previously co-founded Zip2 and PayPal, the Falcon 1’s success will drive the cost of space access down “ultimately by a factor of 10.”

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Sounds like something out of Star Trek, doesn’t it? This was a pretty interesting article about how the company SpaceX, founded and funded by “Elon Musk, who previously co-founded Zip2 and PayPal” had successfully launched a rocket into orbit. A privately owned and funded space exploration company….

My first thought was “That’s pretty friggin cool.”

My second thought was “Why on Earth would anyone waste their money on this?”

Look, I get it. Well…some of it. I get it from the point of being a geek, and if I had billions of dollars to waste, why not waste it on something cool like leading up to the development and launching of spacecraft. Musk is only worth a couple of hundred million though. Truth be told, I don’t think he’ll make any money off this venture either.

True, there are contracts out there to get…for some stuff. You could get government contracts to develop satellite tech that will help improve daily life, or war capabilities. But, as far as making money from spacecraft contracts…I don’t know if that’ll happen. I’m willing to bet that even if they got into competing for government dollars, this wouldn’t be as great of an investment as it would have been some 30 years ago at the height of the Cold War where every country was trying to get to space…just to get to space. Now that the Cold War has cooled to the point of non-existence, I’m willing to bet the available funds to compete over aren’t nearly as plentiful.

On the flip side, privately owned and operated space exploration companies could be good from the fact that they’re going to look to stay efficient and not get fat on government monies like the space government agencies have. They’re going to consistently look for better and more cost effective ways to get to space, and then make their money back selling that technology not only to our government, but to whichever government that can pay their price. I’m sure if you came to the US government with some highly efficient and cost effective space tech that you developed, and you told them that Iran had just invested 100’s of millions in buying it, they’d be right behind with check in hand. Based on the article, just launching this rocket into space has allowed SpaceX to procure “hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts.” Good for them!

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