Sunday, March 4, 2012

"We Should All Cheer SpaceX"

In today's opinion column, Florida Today space columnist John Kelly wrote that everyone who supports space exploration should be supporting SpaceX.

SpaceX took another step this week toward flying the first-ever private spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The countdown rehearsal at the company’s launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was a big deal. It didn’t get a ton of news media attention. There was some buzz in the aerospace industry about it.

Every step toward the flights of the half-dozen or so new space transportation systems under development by private companies and NASA is a big deal. These are turning points in human space exploration.

Am I rooting for SpaceX to succeed in launching its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station? You bet and, honestly, the rest of the space industry ought to be, too. Yes, the companies that are working to develop these new systems in some ways ought to be competitive. That will drive innovation and the kinds of time and cost savings that will advance space travel.

But they also ought to be rooting for one another. Because the U.S. space program needs high-profile, visible success stories to point to, as it struggles to continue to get the White House and Congress to fund and commit to space exploration in the short and long terms.

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