Now THIS is What I’m Talking About

Elon Musk announced that a SpaceX is developing the Falcon 9 and Dragon into a fully reusable launch vehicle/capsule system. In short, they are actually going to go for making the Falcon 9 live up to it’s namesake.

I can’t help but contrast this animated system with the SLS announcement from NASA. It illustrates my criticism of recent NASA policy perfectly: at Congress’s behest, the space agency has stopped innovating.

It’s not a super-heavy-lift launch vehicle that will enable expansion of the human exploration program beyond flags-and-footprints missions or the long-term development of space. Instead, it’s the fantastically easier access to space afforded by a rapidly reusable launch system like that presented by Musk. The control technology and hardware for such a system exists already; I hope to see test flights in a few years. With only a little luck, they’ll happen before the first SLS is supposed to take off.

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