The Falcon I rocket is about to make it's maiden flight from Omelek Island in the West Pacific. It's a small rocket. Created by a small company called SpaceX. This company is funded by muti-millionaire IT famed nutso named Elon Musk.
It'll happen next Friday the 25th at 1pm, God willing.
Frequently, I just rant not really explaining what the heck I'm talking about. Today I'm going to try to actually explain why this launch is as earth shattering as it is.
Elon Musk, and SpaceX represent a hope to most space nutsos such as myself. You see, at a certain point in most space nutsos lives, they realise that the propaganda being spewed out by NASA at a mile a minute about people living on the Moon in 20 years is a load of horse manure. This tends to be a very sobering, madening, and depressing revelation. It comes when you're that bright eyed kid that reads that promise in a space picture book when you're 8, and then wait 15 years and see no results. The only thing you do see is another promise that it'll happen in 20 years for sure this time.
The truth is, that when NASA talks about going back to the moon, for the most part, the bearaucrats mean sending a select few, planting a flag, and then going back home to celebrate for 30 years. That's what happened after Apollo. That's when reality sinks in: NASA will never get humanity to the stars.
It shouldn't come as a surprise. I have no doubt that most people working at NASA are good people that really want space flight for the common man, and not for the select few. However, they work under the ever guise of the state. The state is by it's very nature more interested in politics and power than anything else. The only reason why NASA got to the moon, in my opinion, was because the State was freaked out at the possibility of the Russians getting there first and claiming it all for themselves.
What does a space nutso do then? He researches to try to find that way to get us going in the Buck Rogers direction. He finds that the real barrier of regular people going into space is the high costs required to launch cargo into orbit. Once you've reached orbit, you've attained half the energy required to go anywhere in the universe. Where do most of those launch costs come from? Insurance, and infracstructure. The fuel is a minor component. Then you do some more research and find out that once launch costs go below $1,000 a pound widespread access to space should be possible. You do some of your own calculations and find out, that based on what we know, the costs of access to space are pretty close to that number.
Then you find out that NASA's costs reach $16,000 per pound with the Space Shuttle. Private launch contractors like Boeing charge about $8,000 per pound. Then you start scratching your head...Why? Because it's government money. Government money grows on trees apparently. Big aerospace companies, you find, are addicted to government cash. They probably are making a heavy profit that no one knows about. NASA, on the overall, doesn't even care about making a profit so they just spend and spend and spend...
Then you hear about the X-Prize, and the idea that maybe, just maybe, the only way to get regular people into space is if private small companies get involved and compete. Say create a free market in space? Like a market for space tourism? I think so.
So the reason why this flight is so important, is that space nutsos like Elon Munsk are doing just that. He's created his own company, and built rockets that have launch costs at a fraction of what the big government money addicted big guys have been selling. This flight, if successful, will mean that the little Elon did it.
If he can do it, more will follow. Costs will drop. And the cause of getting my behind into space just became a heck of a lot more probable.