Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dragon Follow Up

After a successful launch this morning atop its Falcon 9, SpaceX's Dragon capsule orbited Earth, maneuvered in space, deployed a parachute to break it's re-entry speed, deployed three main parachutes, and splashed down in the target area in the Pacific.

SpaceX has thus become the first private company to retrieve a capsule it put into orbit. That is a huge step forward, not only for the company, but for those who argue private companies can in fact operate in space. The object now is to replicate the feat until it becomes boring and routine, but SpaceX has pulled it off on the first try. There is no reason to think it cannot become routine-- and when it does, the age of opening space to commercial enterprises will have well and truly begun.

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