Saturday, June 5, 2010

Commercial Space news?

On the one hand, this is good news. Another company has produced a rocket large enough to possibly carry astronauts into space.

The bad news? Its a rocket. Falcon 9 is honestly little different from the Apollo rockets. Will it do as an interim thing? Yes.

Is it progress? Not remotely. If we are going to move outward into space and stay, we need a good alternative for getting out of the gravity well. Rockets are, frankly, a semi-obsolete dead end except perhaps for some unmanned applications. They are expensive. They are not reusable. They use more energy to get to the same height than an airplane.

Of course, the much-vaunted shuttle was a rocket. And it was barely reusable, and it was VERY expensive. The failure was in not moving towards a replacement the second the thing was in flight. But I've said that before, in all kinds of forums.

I do give kudos to SpaceX and Elon Musk for a successful maiden launch on only the second attempt. I am just hoping to see something truly new streaking through the skies soon.