Splashdown! Inspiration4 Returns!

After spending 3 days orbiting the Earth 580 kilometers, stretching the Commercial Space human spaceflight envelope to bursting, the crew of the first fully commercial human space expedition has returned safely to Earth.

This effort to support St. Jude Children’s Hospital and human spaceflight for the rest of us, started earlier this year when billionare Jared Isaacman announced the names of his three new freinds that would ride with him on a SpaceX Crew Dragon to orbital space.

It ended today as the recovery ship lifted the Dragon spacecraft out of the water where it returned after a fully successful flight. The recovery ship will now bring the spacecraft back to Cape Canaveral, but the crew of the capsule rode a helicopter back to land for their physical check-ups.

My family and I were in tears…not just for the safe return of those people, but also for what this means for the Commercial Space industry.

From here on out, everything changes.

Children in elementary school right now will grow up in a world where space travel is truly routine. Do you think that 40 or 50 something million dollars a seat is an invitation only to rich people? For most countries who want to have their own human spaceflight program, 45 million is pocket change. Of course, tyrants and terrorists need not apply because even though NASA played only a minor logistics support role, SpaceX is a U.S. company and the U.S. State Department has strict rules about technology transfer. They pick which countries of the world have access to services provided by defense crossover technology companies based in the U.S. like SpaceX.

Large research projects can afford it as well, including medical research. Some folks sneer and say, “We can put a man on the moon but we can’t cure cancer.” Well, the St. Jude’s Cancer Research center just got a grundle of funds from this spaceflight. They will likely get far more in the end than Jared Isaacson paid SpaceX to fly it. Not only that, anytime people do new things in space, medical science advances with it, and now there’ll soon be a lot more folks flying in space than just NASA and Roscosmos.

Most large corporations spend a lot more than $50M for a whole lot less publicity, but what about all the other ways to make money in space? You probably work for a large business right? Think about it…what reason might the company that work for have to send you to space?

So when people sneer and say, “Space tourism is for the rich” what they really mean is “Space tourism is for entrepreneurs who know how to turn millions of dollars into billions…and billions into trillions. Several years ago Morgan Stanley predicted that the Commercial Space industry would grow to $40 trillion by 2040…that’s less than 20 years from right now. So, this year’s kindergarteners will graduate from college right into the thick of that. SpaceX will have already started to colonize Mars and all of the technologies that they need to do that will have been fully developed, built, improved and tested out by then and spreading like wildfire into other industries all over the world. Also, most of it will happen in the U.S. because SpaceX has the momentum right now with most of other players, even new potential industry leaders like Blue Origin, continuing to rely on government space agencies under the thumbs of cheap, sluggish, corrupt and fickle legislatures to set the momentum for them and tell them where to go and what to build. Yes, a lot of government money went into building SpaceX, and it was very helpful, but because they build what they build for their own reasons and not for government, SpaceX will hold a near monopoly on space travel. Most of the money to be made in the new space race will therefore be paid to them and companies supporting them right here in the U.S.A. The United States will become the space port of the world. The current trade deficit is a rounding error in comparison to the amounts of money people all over the world will spend here.

Many efforts waited for this moment…a safe round trip for crewed space efforts.

This time, space exploration did not need an act of Congress…

…and it never will again.

~ by Bill Housley on September 18, 2021.

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