A new era may have dawned today. This morning at 3:44 AM a Falcon 9 rocket owned by a private company known as SpaceX lifted off with an unmanned capsule full of supplies for the International Space Station. If successful, this mission could mark a major step forward in private space ventures. The mission was scrubbed at literally the last second before launch this past Saturday. But today's launch was flawless. With government austerity threatening all manner of future space exploration, the privatization of space will likely take on a greater role moving forward. This development meets with NASA's approval.
This is as it should be. It is only when the potential for economic gain in space (such as mining planets, moons, and asteroids) fire humanity's innate passion for wealth, that space exploration will literally regain the momentum it has lost since the Cold War. Scientific inquiry and political competition was enough to get things going. Now what we need is some old-fashioned greed to create a sense of urgency about space that transcends cutbacks in public funding.
Late Note: The Dragon capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station on May 25. Aboard the capsule were the remains of Star Trek's Mr. Scott.
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