I decided to re-launch my blog again after a long time. What better way to start by jotting down a few thoughts on SpaceX's recent rocket launches?
Last month SpaceX successfully launched the first of their Falcon Heavy rockets into space, a rocket that the company hopes will carry humans into space and restore "the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars". The other day, they launched their 50th Falcon 9 rocket into flight.
It's no surprise that it's fallen to the private sector to advance space exploration efforts. Since President Kennedy's successful moon landing nearly fifty years ago, interest in space exploration from public institutions has evaporated. Little has been done to return astronauts to the moon and beyond save a few feeble efforts that never came to fruition. The modern-day Space Race is between private organizations.
Indeed the Falcon Heavy launch was a remarkable feat, born partly from private obsessions over cost savings. The Saturn V rocket cost, adjusting for inflation, over $1 billion to launch. The Falcon Heavy, which can carry about half the payload of the Saturn V, costs only $95 million.
If the moon landing was the defining moment of the old Space Race, then the defining moment of this modern private race will be a manned mission to mars. If anyone delivers it, it'll be a company like SpaceX, headed by obsessed individuals like Elon Musk.