SpaceX’s version 2.0 of its Falcon rocket didn’t hit the heights expected earlier… but it’s far from a failure. This privately-built, privately-financed spacecraft reached space, improved on its predecessor, and did so on schedule. And it’s only when you consider just how ineptly government has monopolised space – the unlimited budgets thrown at Apollo, the giant white elephant that is the Shuttle – that you understand what a big deal this is.
I just hope Elon Musk knows what’s coming. (He should do. Created world’s first non-bank payment system? Built the first ‘real’ electric car? Sending the first private satellite launch vehicle up? When does this guy sleep?) Once governments realise private enterprise can do it better, they’ll try to keep even tighter control of space: not through competition and the market, but by legislation and restrictions. Space doesn’t belong to governments, or military; I hope Elon will fight.