Saturday, June 5, 2010

SpaceX: The Morning After

Falcon 9 launches on June 4 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

A roundup of press coverage of yesterday's SpaceX launch ...

Florida Today lavished coverage upon SpaceX in today's print edition. Page 1 has a big photo of the launch and the headline, "Falcon 9 Rocket Nails Test". Reporter Todd Halvorson declared, "SpaceX scored a bulls-eye Friday on the first flight of its Falcon 9 rocket."

Columnist John Kelly's article, "Space X Did It: Here's Why Brevard County Should Be Smiling", opened:

America has a new rocket.

And, its home base is Cape Canaveral.

That’s a big deal for the future of the United States’ space program and for the future of Florida’s Space Coast.

Kelly notes, "SpaceX says it hopes to employ as many as 1,000 launch operations workers in Florida in the coming years, perhaps people who might have otherwise lost jobs at the end of NASA’s space shuttle program."

A third article by Dave Berman and Michelle Spitzer focused on public reaction to the launch.

Back in Houston, SciGuy blogger Eric Berger posted an article posing the question, "Falcon 9 Launch a Success: What Does It Mean?"

Although the Falcon 9 initially is designed to carry cargo to the station, perhaps as early as next year, SpaceX co-founder Elon Musk says the company could be ready to deliver humans to orbit within three years of receiving a NASA contract.

Today's launch is the first step toward proving that he's not just blowing smoke. In fact, it's a shot in the arm for all commercial providers who believe they can build rockets and space capsules to carry humans into space.

The Huntsville Times simply reprinted an Associated Press story on the launch.

Inside the Beltway, the Washington Post called Falcon 9 "the first of a new generation of private rockets that could one day make space travel commonplace." The article concludes:

While NASA rockets have long been built by private industry under NASA control, the SpaceX Falcon 9 is more fully private and considerably less expensive. Although SpaceX is the leader now in commercial space efforts with NASA, larger companies — including Boeing and Lockheed Martin — are expected to join in the future.

Back in Southern California, where SpaceX is based in Hawthorne, the Los Angeles Times declared, "SpaceX Shows It Has the Right Stuff".

A massive rocket developed by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur blasted off from a launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Friday, boosting prospects for privately funded vehicles to one day take astronauts and cargo into space.

The launch marked a major milestone in efforts to shift spacecraft development — which has long been dominated by governments and large, entrenched aerospace firms — to privately funded start-ups that so far have been funding their ventures mostly on their own dime.

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