For those who love the cosmos and have a yearning to explore it, a landmark event occurred this morning. There is now a new way that man can achieve the escape velocity needed to break free from Earth’s gravitational pull.
SpaceX, which is a private company and not a government agency like NASA or the NSA, successfully launched this morning their “Dragon” commercial module via their Falcon9 rocket. The module’s destination is the International Space Station (ISS). This is historic because until this launch, only three countries had ever pushed a capsule into space: the United States, Russia and China. SpaceX just joined this small club.
SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk, the man who founded X.com, which became Paypal.
When Paypal was sold, he became a very wealthy man and with part of his wealth he founded Telsa Motors, which made the first production electric car, where he makes $1 for salary. A year and a half ago Wired wrote a good article titled “Supercharged” about this company.
He also used part of this wealth to found SpaceX, which upon completing this cargo mission will enable it collect on a $396 million contract to develop a cargo ship, and enter into a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for a dozen future cargo flights.
Not too shabby for a private company breaking into an area that has only been served by the government thus far.
“We’re really at the dawn of a new era of space exploration,” Musk says. “I think there’s perhaps some parallels to the Internet in the mid-’90s, when the Internet was created as a government endeavor, but then, the introduction of commercial companies really accelerated growth of the Internet, and made it accessible to the mainstream.”
When “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley visited the SpaceX factory in March for “60 Minutes,” he found that Musk’s goal is grander than cargo.
“You know,” Pelly remarked, “what I noticed about your cargo ship is that it has windows.”
“Yeah,” Musk responded. “The windows are there in case there is an astronaut who wants to look up.”
“But,” Pelley said, “people don’t put windows in cargo ships.”
“That’s right. Exactly,” Musk replied.
“What that tells me,” Pelley said, “is that this was never intended to be only a cargo ship.”
“No,” Musk confirmed. “Dragon was always designed to carry astronauts.”
Also, the SpaceX’s factory was used as a shooting location for Iron Man 2, and Musk has a cameo in the movie.
Simply put, he rules.
What has Marc Zuckerburg ever done besides start a little social network?
Via info obtained from CBS News and Wired.