Posted by Jeff Id on November 2, 2014
SpaceX is an amazing story. We are witnessing space history being made in front of our eyes. No less important than Columbus style ocean crossings, I do wonder if the public is even aware of it. I am an aeronautical engineer and an entrepreneur myself, I see these things going on and am fascinated by the common sense approach SpaceX has taken. I wrote after their first successful flight that SpaceX won’t lose another craft, I don’t expect any near-future rocket failures even though they expect them. Someday it will happen, but my guess is that it will be the safest and more importantly lowest cost rocket system for the foreseeable future.
Recently they have completed two successful soft landings on the ocean surface. The press has responded by mis-reporting the event as though these were failures with comments about the rocket “tipping over” and breaking up. The reports miss the rather obvious point that the rocket is standing on liquid at that point and has few options other than “tipping over”. They also miss the point that when a 14 story building tips over, it tends to rather dramatically “Break up”. It leaves one wondering just what these reporters imagine might happen had the launch gone perfectly.???
Perhaps in reporter land, a fleet of rubber ducks would extend from the bottom and carry the booster to some white-sand beach and deliver it salt water free to its heavenly creator with none of the evil hydrocarbon fuel dripping into the water…. Is Musk the heavenly creator they imagine, hell no, but is he getting it done, hell yes.
Politicians have resisted the organization for political reasons, bloated government contracts have been awarded to their competitors, yet they continue to penetrate the industry at a rapid pace. They are completely unstoppable, largely due to the capitalist idea of making money, and the entrepreneurial concept of simplicity. If they go public I’m throwing a pile their way simply because it is the future we are looking at. The actual future of humanity.
Standing a pencil end up is hard on your fingertip, yet that is what they are doing in a vertical rocket landing. They have already repeatedly demonstrated rather difficult resupply and return of materials from the ISS — for a fractional cost of the space shuttle. The big space companies are just beginning to react, but they are nothing more than government bloated organizations with public owners. They have no realistic hope of changing sufficiently to compete in any substantial manner. Full of frustrated engineers who know it can be done better and managers who’s vision is trumped by massive process, these competitors are doomed to lose badly before a big corporate reset happens.
I just want to say thanks to Mr. Musk for the fireworks show we get to watch for the second half of my life. It should be great!