A Blog A Day

Observations from a NASA Flight Controller on different topics, some space related – some not. No flaming or spamming, please!

Go SpaceX!

Posted by rjmccormi on March 26, 2007

Last week, while I was supporting ISS operations from the console, I had the good fortune to see (via the web) the first semi-successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon I rocket from Kwajalein atoll in the South Pacific.

I call the the launch “semi-successful” because the payload failed to achieve orbit. The rocket, however, did manage to reach second stage and was about 1 minute away from achieving orbit when SpaceX lost telemetry. (You can see a replay of the entire ~5:30 of rocket ascent here). SpaceX is looking into the reasons why it failed to achieve orbit. Some folks are speculating that it is related to the first stage bumping the second stage bell after separation – you can see this more clearly from the images here.) Regardless of the failure, SpaceX’s CEO, Elon Musk (developer of Paypal), has declared the launch a “90% success” and is confident that he can get his next two launches (with paying satellite customers) to orbit.

Why do I bother blogging about this? Why is this important?

Because …

1. Falcon 1 launches are being touted as costing a fraction of what similar launches would cost
2. SpaceX is planning on developing a larger rocket (the Falcon 9) with similar cost-cutting approaches, and
3. NASA is attempting to procure SpaceX (and Rocketplane Kistler) unmanned launches to supply logistics (spare parts, water, food, etc.) to the ISS in the next several years.

If SpaceX and/or Rocketplane Kistler ultimately become successful, space launches may become significantly less expensive – and space operations costs will come down. The net result may be a significant increase in space operations.

I’d be a fool if I were against that!

Go SpaceX!

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One Response to “Go SpaceX!”

  1. […] Way to go, Spacex!  Definitely better results than the last time I mentioned Spacex! […]

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