Wednesday, December 4, 2013

SpaceX Makes Its Point

Click the arrow to watch the webcast of the SpaceX SES-8 launch. Video source: SpaceX via Megneous YouTube channel.

“SpaceX Makes Its Point” is the headline this morning on Page 1 of the print edition of Florida Today.

The online version by reporter James Dean details yet another triumph for this 21st Century launch company.

SpaceX had already proven it could launch cargo to the International Space Station.

On Tuesday, the company achieved another milestone when its upgraded Falcon 9 rocket deployed its first commercial communications satellite into an orbit high above Earth, 33 minutes after a beautiful twilight liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

It was the third attempt in nine days to launch the broadcasting satellite for Luxembourg-based SES, one of the world’s largest satellite operators, but ultimately it signaled SpaceX’s readiness to take on a $2.4 billion market dominated by international competitors.

“The successful insertion of the SES-8 satellite confirms the upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle delivers to the industry’s highest performance standards,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a statement.

In the last three years that SpaceX has been launching from the Cape, I've heard all sorts of vicious false rumors spread to disparage SpaceX. A recent one claimed that President Barack Obama secretly owns SpaceX stock. (That came from a ULA employee.)

The rumor-mongering is spread by people who know they can't compete with SpaceX.

Another victory for NewSpace.

UPDATE December 4, 2013 — Bloomberg TV poses the question, “Is SpaceX a threat to Boeing and Lockheed?”

Click the arrow to watch the video on YouTube. Video source: Bloomberg TV.


  1. The rumor-mongering is almost anti-American; being as it is coming from the folks who totally lost US dominance of the commercial launch sector, and is aimed at practically the only company trying to win that sector, and the money and jobs that come with it, back here to the US. And it's being done by a non-US born immigrant, no less!

    SpaceX's first success in the commercial launch market is mainly a threat to the Russians and the Europeans (in that order). Expect the rumor-mongering to get nastier the next two years as SpaceX tries to take the military orders away from Boeing/Lockheed/ULA, which is their bread and butter.

    Dave Huntsman

  2. The bigger threat will be when and if SpaceX succeeds in reusability. The price could be cut by an additional factor of 4 to 10. Other launch companies in the world would be able to adapt to also use reusables including Boeing and Lockheed because they have liquid fueled rockets. An exception though would be Arianespace because all their rockets including their proposed Ariane 6 use solids. Unless they change their choice of the Ariane 6 to be liquid fueled, reusability may drive Arianespace to obsolescence.

    Bob Clark