Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Day of the Dragon...

          For those of you who follow such things, Private spaceflight company SpaceX succesfully launched its Falcon 9 vehicle today and placed its Dragon re-entry vehicle into orbit.  This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first privately funded capsule launch into orbit.

          Not everybody's happy about it, either.  The Utah-based aerospace division of ATK has been trying through political lobbies and other skull-duggery to get the Dragon declared either unsafe or failing to meet congressional requirements.  Which makes sense; the cancellation of the SRB-derived Aeres rockets and the retirement of the Space Shuttle have pretty much dried up the company's most lucrative contracts.  The Obama supported plan to develop private spaceflight as opposed to funding incumbent developers has been controversial and desperately resisted since the proposal of the FY2011 budget.

          However you feel about the Constellation program or the whole private spaceflight debate, you have to admit that the successful flight of the Dragon is great news for space buffs everywhere.

Here's a look.  Enjoy!

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