Space Race 2.0

We live in amazing times. Sneaking up on us without most people noticing, we are in the midst of a second Space Race, even more exciting than the first because now privately funded ventures — Orbital Sciences; SpaceX; Blue Origin; Planetary Resources; and Virgin Galactic are in the mix. And there’s nothing like the creativity of private enterprise to drive creativity and exploration. Kudos to NASA for opening up the re-supply of the International Space Station (ISS) to private contractors and kudos to the Administration for making private space exploration possible. It’s time to go back to the Moon!

Here’s a great video of the SpaceX CRS-5 Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. Liftoff was at 4:47 a.m. EST.

This was also SpaceX’s first attempt to re-use the first stage by having it soft-land on a remote-control floating platform in the Atlantic … as fantastic as that sounds. Although reports said “SpaceX’s attempt to land the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket on a floating ocean platform Saturday was unsuccessful, the company has announced” you’ve got to give them credit for bringing the first stage down in the first place … and it actually managed to hit the platform — just a little hard. Unbelievable progress. Plus, the Dragon capsule was launched successfully and is scheduled to dock with the ISS shortly. Way to rock it everyone!

Of course, it doesn’t always work out … what we like to call in the software industry “iterative refinement”: