Well here we go! The main booster test fire went good. The second stage test fire has now gone well. So, add that up and I think we're looking at a great scenario when it comes to the Falcon 9 test launch from the Kennedy Space Center in February. Without a doubt, SpaceX is paving the way for commercial cargo transport. I really don't know what Orbital Sciences is doing, because they haven't made any news rumblings.
Last night I was involved with a panel discussion on China Radio International out of Bejing regarding Space Tourism. You can hear it on the link above. One of the things I stressed towards the end of the show was that it's not just about Virgin Galactic and XCOR's capability to go sub-orbital that helps drive the space tourism industry, but also companies like SpaceX who, if all goes well, will be a major heavy lifter for Commercial Space applications.
You have Bigelow Aerospace who has the capability to build and maintain orbiting hotels, then you have SpaceX with the ability to launch those systems (using Falcon 9 Heavy once it's online), then you have Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, XCOR, et al who will be able to get people to that location -- once they develop that capability beyond sub-orbit. There you have a fully private system providing a destination, resupply and transport capabilities. These next 10 years will be amazing times in our lives.
It seems to me that science and engineering are accomplishing more productive things than governments. Maybe it's time we put scientists and engineers in charge of things, instead of lawyers and bankers. At least then we'd be applying more logic and reason to any issues we face.