SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has achieved a safe landing to Earth, splashing down successfully in the Pacific Ocean just before 9 am Pacific Coast Time off the coast of SoCal. This is a big deal guys, because it marks the triumphant journey of the very first privately built and operated space craft to the space station, and back. Step aside, NASA! Private sectors are coming through. It might not seem as big as the first man who ever walked on the moon, but I have a feeling that this is the start of a lot more private space companies stepping to the forefront of the industry and really making a market of something that hasn’t had much of one in the past. Andy Pasztor of the Wall Street Journal reported this morning,
“The first private spacecraft to visit the International Space Station made a dramatic return home Thursday to a precise splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the Southern California coast.
Guided by a trio of 116-feet diameter parachutes after a searing re-entry through the atmosphere, the safe descent of Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s unmanned Dragon capsule capped a historic nine-day voyage.
The test flight sparked world-wide interest in commercial space ventures, intended to carry cargo and astronauts into orbit later this decade for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Dragon’s success also underscored that SpaceX, as the company is known, has emerged as the leading symbol of a budding industry with ambitions of launching a new era of corporate space exploits.
“This would be like a grand slam” in baseball, an elated Elon Musk, the company’s founder and chief executive, said at a postsplashdown news conference. The mission was “more success than we had a reasonable right to accept.…There’s not much to fix.”
The capsule performed nearly flawlessly throughout, and preliminary estimates indicated that it landed within a mile of its intended target. “This couldn’t have gone better,” Mr. Musk said.”
You might be envisioning a Jetsons-esque world unfolding in the near future, and to that I will point out that flying cars have already been developed. With the opening up of the skies to private companies within the U.S., I do have a feeling we are in for some big changes coming up. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Jetsons-status… but you never know.