by Rod D. Martin
September 16, 2014
Congratulations to Boeing and SpaceX for winning the biggest prize yet on the new frontier: NASA’s Commercial Crew contract to provide what the media is calling “space taxi” service between Earth and the International Space Station (and other low Earth orbit, or LEO, destinations such as the planned Bigelow Aerospace space station).
It’s not that shocking that a company like Boeing would be successful, even though its CST-100 spacecraft is a new design. But SpaceX is quite another matter. Only founded in 2002 by my former PayPal colleague Elon Musk — post-IPO but even before the sale to eBay — SpaceX is a marvel, a true triumph of entrepreneurship and brilliance like few ventures in history. Elon’s achievement goes far beyond becoming the primary means by which American astronauts will enter space, at least for several years. But even that much is more than anyone could have reasonably dreamed only a few short years ago.
The SpaceX Dragon v2 and the Boeing CST-100 were not the only competitors for the CCP contract, nor are they the only spacecraft headed to a launch site in the next few years. Spaceflight Insider has a great rundown on these vehicles and their different purposes that would be well worth your time.
This is the beginning of a revolution, like the U.S. government’s decision to assist the nascent aircraft industry by awarding contracts for Air Mail. Congratulations again, to Boeing of course, but especially to Elon Musk and his intrepid team. See you on Mars, guys.