Tag: SpaceX

Stuck The Landing

SpaceX did another launch today. And this time, they successfully landed the first stage on an ocean landing platform.

If they can do this consistently, it will dramatically cut the cost of putting things into space. Well done!

SpaceX Returns

I’m in transit but thought I’d put up a quick post about Space X successfully launching a rocket, having it deploy satellites, then return to the Earth. You can see a truncated video below:

It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

This isn’t just cool; the economic potential is huge. This could cut the cost of putting things into orbit by tens of millions. In just my field, this could mean more space telescopes for the same funds. In other fields, you’re talking about affordable space tourism, cheap satellite, maybe even an economic way to clear out space debris.

Science Sunday: SpaceX Explodes


An unmanned rocket by Elon Musk’s SpaceX on a resupply mission to the International Space Station exploded Sunday just minutes after launch.

It wasn’t clear what caused the rocket, named Dragon, to fail. SpaceX will conduct an investigation overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration.

It was the third resupply mission to fail in recent months. The three astronauts on the space station have about four months worth of supplies, according to NASA.

This is the first big failure for SpaceX, which has had a good track record so far (they’ve had a few failed launches of experimental craft as well). You can follow Phil Plait here who speculates that it was a fuel tank rupture.

I’m a big fan of private space flight and disappointed that Congress is trying to curtail it a bit. The potential savings is good but the potential for breakthrough technology is very large. Hopefully, this won’t be too big a setback.



At 07:44 UTC, May 22, 2012, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket thundered into space, carrying the Dragon capsule into orbit.

This morning’s launch went very smoothly. After achieving orbit, the uncrewed Dragon craft decoupled from the rocket and successfully deployed its solar panels, a key milestone in the mission. When that happened, the cheering from the SpaceX team could be heard in the webcast background, which was delightful.

Video here. Skip ahead to minute 56 when the solar panels deploy and cheer goes up from the Space X crowd. I must admit, a huge grin broke out on my face too. There is just something so wonderful and heroic and impossible about space travel that I can’t help but be moved.

On Friday, the Dragon capsule will meet with the space station. If it maneuvers well, it will dock and then return to Earth. And if the mission is a success, it will mean that, ten years after its foundation, SpaceX is exceeding NASA in its ability to support the space station.

I love this. You combine this with last month’s ambitious announcement of an effort to mine the asteroids and the private space industry is really starting to take off, no pun intended. It’s the perfect intersection of economics, science and ambition.

More of this!