Saturday, March 21, 2015

Retro Saturday: SpaceX COTS

Click the arrow to watch the presentation. Video source: Spacevidcast/TMRO YouTube channel.

In June 2009, the new Obama administration appointed the Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee to, according to its charter, “conduct an independent review of ongoing U.S. human spaceflight plans and programs, as well as alternatives, to ensure the Nation is pursuing the best trajectory for the future of human spaceflight — one that is safe, innovative, affordable, and sustainable.”

The committee's first hearing was June 17, 2009 at the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington, D.C. The committee heard presentations on Constellation, the International Space Station, Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, and Enhanced Expendable Launch Vehicles.

One presentation was by SpaceX founder Elon Musk. At the time of this hearing, SpaceX was still a year away from its first Falcon 9 demonstration flight in June 2010. SpaceX had launched its prototype Falcon 1 four times; the first three launches were failures, but the fourth launch in September 2008 was its first success. The final Falcon 1 launch, also a success, would be in July 2009.

This week's Retro Saturday is Musk's presentation to the committee, which lasts 17 minutes. At that point, he was all talk but had accomplished little. Some critics dismissed him as a “hobbyist.”

Five years later, the critics are the ones lacking credibility.

Click here to download Musk's slideshow presentation in PDF form.

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