By Thaddeus Cesari
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL––Just days after Vice President Pence publicly criticized American aerospace capability, SpaceX responds with two successful launches from the East and West coast of the United States. The dual launches and landings followed in-suit with CEO Elon Musk’s recent unveiling of how SpaceX will expand human (especially American) presence throughout the solar system.
“… In recent years the clarity of our purpose and the confidence of our conviction that propel the U.S. to be a vanguard of space exploration seems to have waned,” said Pence at the first meeting of the revived National Space Council in Virginia a week ago. “America seems to have lost our edge in space.”
Four days after the VP slighted the progress and exploratory spirit of America’s space program, SpaceX flawlessly delivered a group of ten Iridium NEXT satellites to individual orbits from their launch facilities in Vandenberg, California. Moments later, the rocket’s booster, which houses nine American-built engines and was engineered with SpaceX’s breakthrough reusable hardware, soared through the skies for a precision touchdown on the Just Read the Instructions robotic drone-ship.
Nearly 48 hours later, during a picturesque Florida pastel sunset, the world’s third flight-proven (reusable) rocket was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center by SpaceX. Just minutes after sending a satellite designed to improve television services throughout North America to orbit, the rocket’s booster also landed safely on the company’s East Coast drone-ship, the Of Course I Still Love You.
The original breakthrough of bringing home an orbital rocket after launching it to space occurred in December of 2015 and is a feat which has eluded the space theatre for over 50 years. SpaceX’s most recent successful mission represents the 18th recovery and is a prime example of the company’s rapid pace of innovation.
For years, the aerospace industry (and SpaceX’s competitors) claimed that a fully reusable rocket was simply not possible and wouldn’t be economically sustainable. This came from an industry that has been discarding, for over 50 years, what are considered the most technologically complex and expensive vehicles developed by humans. Discarding them after a single use.