SpaceX, the startup offering lowest cost per pound to orbit just had a near-perfect sub-orbital launch. Besides showing the unique power of American innovation, SpaceX may also make America safer.
Here’s a video of yesterday’s launch from Kwajalein Atoll.
Until recently, space launch was a government monopoly, mostly because they used modified ICBMs. Then the software industry enabled some smart people get rich, and they – naturally – headed for the next frontier, space. There are now 10 companies working on orbital lift vehicles, and SpaceX is one of the leaders.
It’s founded and financed by Elon Musk:
SpaceX is the third company founded by Mr. Musk. Prior to SpaceX, he co-founded PayPal, the world’s leading electronic payment system, and served as the company’s chairman and CEO.
Before PayPal, Mr. Musk co-founded Zip2 Corporation in 1995, a leading provider of enterprise software and services to the media industry…
Mr. Musk’s early experience extends across a spectrum of advanced technology industries, from high energy density ultra-capacitors at Pinnacle Research to software development at Rocket Science and Microsoft. He has a physics degree…
His is a uniquely American career – from a Physics degree via R&D to successful technology entrepreneurship. Jeff Bezos of Amazon and the guy that wrote Doom are also building launchers. The administration is giving them just the right kind of help – opportunity, not subsidy:
In December 2004, United States President George W Bush signed in to law the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act. The Act resolved the regulatory ambiguity surrounding private spaceflights and is designed to promote the development of the emerging U.S. commercial human space flight industry.
On January 18, 2006 NASA finally announced an unprecedented private sector opportunity. Instead of flying payloads to the International Space Station (ISS) on government operated vehicles, NASA would spend $500 million through 2010 to finance the demonstration of orbital transportation services from commercial providers.
There’s another market for SpaceX:
Operationally responsive (ie fast) launch has become an increasingly important national security objective, so demonstrating rapid loading of propellants and launch in less than an hour, as well as a rapid recycle following the first engine ignition are major accomplishments.
That will probably be the Pentagon looking to replace military satellites taken out by Chinese ASATs.
So the software industry, George W Bush, and the Chinese dictators have together solidified US control of space.