Space Exploration, more commonly known as SpaceX, is the first private company to have launched a rocket into space, and then rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX has joined the exclusive group of Russia and the U.S. government as the only entities to have paired with the ISS.
SpaceX founder and CEO, Elon Musk, believes that the future of spaceflight and exploration is in the private sector; he has funded that belief with billions of his personal fortune. He is not alone in the belief of future of Space Exploration being run by capitalism.
“It makes since, if private space business can actually utilize the potential mineral riches and industrial potentialities of space, they’ll reap the rewards from it,” said Daniel Garner who teaches the aerospace class offered by DHS, and heads the Aerospace team.
Private companies are certainly interested in the prospect of making millions, but some would argue that in the race for riches, scientific progress and safety are overlooked.
“Space travel should be compartmentalized, a
ll our countries have their individual talents and assets; if we pooled that in an international organization I think we could all benefit greatly” said Fr. Cobin Rieter, who believes that space exploration should become a multi-national endeavour; private space flight, Rieter argues, would progress only when there was money to be made and personal bank accounts to be filled.
Currently, SpaceX is making money, but that has not always been the case. The first three rockets launched by SpaceX blew up before they cleared the atmosphere. With there being only enough money left for one last launch, Musk pushed on and succeeded when he became apart of the first private company to launch a rocket into space and recover it after it fell back to Earth.
Some are inspired; other’s think he’s crazy. One thing nobody can argue with is that he’s successful. SpaceX currently has a contract with NASA for up to 1.6 billion dollars to ferry American Astronauts up to the ISS, a job currently done by Russia.
“Its totally lame, we’re at their whim. I’ve heard that the astronauts go along with it because its the only way to get up there, they’re really looking forward to having their own launch vehicle” said Garner supporting the general opinion of U.S. citizens and military tacticians; relying on our Cold War adversaries for such an important and challenging task, is a bad idea.
SpaceX plans to solve this problem with its Dragon capsule, which, if it passes certain safety tests, will become the first privately owned and operate spacecraft to take passengers into space.