SpaceX Operational Launch

Today marked the first operational launch of a fully-crewed SpaceX Crew Dragon rocket into space. It carried four astronauts and cargo bound for the International Space Station (ISS), which it will reach late Monday evening. All this from a company that first came into existence in 2002.

This is the second crewed launch from SpaceX in 2020. The first occurred in May, but though that effort included two astronauts, it was still considered a test flight.

As an SF fan, it’s great to see rockets launching from American soil again. Until this year, America hadn’t propelled astronauts into space on American space vehicles since 2011. But, even more importantly, it’s nice to see this happening in the commercial realm rather than the government realm.

Once again, SpaceX also demonstrated that they can safely land and recover the first stage rocket, allowing it to be refurbished rather than discarded. Just another way in which SpaceX is making space travel cheaper.

I don’t think that space travel can truly proliferate until it is freed from many of the constraints of government oversight. By this, I don’t mean de-emphasizing safety — space is far too dangerous for that. What I mean is permitting commercial competition to drive innovation at a faster speed, and for a more diverse set of customers, than was previously possible when space travel was solely the purview of governments.

I look forward to a day when space travel is routine, like boarding a plane to fly to another continent.

Plus…rocket pictures are cool.

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