SpaceX failure shows we need more commercial space

March 7, 2017 – 08:42 pm
RTR37XB9Gary Cameron/Reuters

Dr. Buzz Aldrin served as lunar module pilot for Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission.

When the interests of the private sector are aligned with NASA’s mission to explore space, America wins.

The recent failure of the commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is a near-term setback. But getting that vehicle back in the air means something more for the tomorrows to come. It means getting down to business concerning the future of America’s space program.

I was witness to the Falcon 9’s failed flight on June 28. Sitting there at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I had a front-row seat to the mishap. However disappointing is the loss of the SpaceX booster and destruction of the Dragon-carrying cargo ship headed for the International Space Station (ISS), it is a teachable moment. I think it punctuates the need for providing more appropriate budgetary funding for commercial space activities.

Why? I believe there’s a bigger picture here — one that transforms how we return to the Moon and implant boot prints on distant Mars.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has helped shape the use of commercial space operators that provide to NASA cargo and crew services for reaching low Earth orbit. Furthermore, the groundwork has been laid for the next administration’s potential commitment to further encourage commercial space activities that can spur into reality America’s pathway to placing humans on Mars.

But first, there are essential things to remember about the booster business. Let’s not forget, it is rocket science! Everyone in the launch business has failures — everyone. SpaceX’s track record of achievement with the Falcon 9 — 18 consecutive successful flights prior to the mishap — has been notable. I have every confidence that it will learn from this failure and emerge as an even more reliable launch provider.

Prior to the years before my good friend John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, that Atlas booster he sat on had a high failure rate. Since that time the Atlas has become the most reliable launch vehicle in the world.


Source: www.businessinsider.com

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