The Year of the Dragon
A real-life Dragon will fly.
That’s right, and the fate of Presidency might fly with it, along with the hopes of a nation. I think that the revolutionary flight of the Falcon and the Dragon this spring could well determine the funding levels of CCDev next year. Obama and NASA took a chance in emphasizing COTS and CCDev over Constellation, the Mars and Moon timetable, and to a certain extent even maybe SLS. Members of Congress who are accustomed to the money that flows into their respective states through traditional contracting are hopping mad at the more open, less Congressionally controlled, Space Act Agreements that fund the privately owned “New Space” spacecraft designs.
I find it a little bit shocking that it took a Liberal to take so much risk to privatize an industry where government traditionally holds a monopoly. I find it equally shocking (and disappointing) that so many of my fellow Conservatives prefer to back the bloated, pork stuffed, Government-owned side of the spaceflight industry…creating a divisive issue where no issue should exist at all. Reducing government influence is never easy, because governments cling to power with an undying grip, but the technology has now come of age and the time for governments the world over to get out of the “Earth to Orbit” business is upon us. No government on Earth, not even China, can compete with private industry once it gets rolling.
The SpaceX launch just may be the most politically powerful space event in history. If Falcon and Dragon go up perfectly this year (and they have plans to launch more than just one once) they vindicate the entire program and might even save Obama’s Presidency. If anything goes wrong with these launches, anything at all, that COTS and CCDev opponents can latch onto and make political hay out of, Obama and New Space may well be doomed.
So, four historic firsts…
The launch of the first private spacecraft to service a Government spacecraft.
The birth of an industry.
The rebirth of a country.
The loss of Government power, by someone, over the issue of space flight.
Space…the final frontier…
Kick the tires and light the fires…the ride is about to begin.
- SpaceX Is Opening Space, You’re Still Too Broke to Go (motherboard.vice.com)
- Just in from SpaceX: Dragon and Falcon 9 assembly now complete (physorg.com)
- CosmicLog: NASA revises its spaceship plans (cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com)
- NASA Revises Plan to Buy Private Space Taxis (space.com)
- NASA admin returns to Congress to fight for commercial space (arstechnica.com)
- Space Station Crew Excited for 1st Private Spaceship Visit (space.com)
- SpaceX announces a date for first private space dock with space station (arstechnica.com)
- Happy 10th anniversary, SpaceX! (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- SpaceX Dragon’s ultimate mission is Mars colonization (gizmag.com)
- NASA Announces Launch Date and Milestones for Spacex Flight (spacefellowship.com)