April 15, 2021

We Need to Talk About SpaceX

The space race of the 1960s must have been a wild time to be alive, with all the excitement of going to the moon and whatnot. It seems as though those times are upon us once again. 

Several government programs all over the world, as well as private companies, are working on projects to not just set foot on Mars but to live there. 

At the forefront of this new “space race” is Tony Star- I mean Elon Musk’s, SpaceX. 

In case you already live under a rock on the big red planet, allow me to fill you in. 

One of the best ways to think of SpaceX is like NASA, but a lot cooler and more active. 

For example, between the first time they attempted to launch a rocket in 2006 and the end of 2010, they had gained millions of dollars in investments and launched the first Falcon 1 rocket which started off great but failed during the launch due to the fuel tank catching fire. Similar incidents also happened in 2007 and 2008. 

Later in 2008, though, they struck gold. Falcon 1 finally got sorted out and SpaceX consequently became the first private company to launch a liquid fuel rocket into Earth’s orbit. A few months later, NASA gave them a billion-dollar contract to service the International Space Station. 

In 2010, they launched the Falcon 9 rocket, named after its— get ready for it— 9 engines. Later that year, the company made history yet again after it was the first commercial company to send a vessel into space and return it in one piece to the Earth. 

Compare that to NASA’s achievements in the same time period, which are not necessarily less impressive or important, but they are definitely less entertaining. 

This includes things like rededicating, demolishing, and relocating various departments and buildings. So, I guess it is a bit less important. 

One of the things Musk has been up to more recently is launching an original Tesla roadster with a mannequin dressed in a spacesuit into space. 

The most recent launch was on March 14, 2021, and it is part of the Starlink mission. The goal of this is to deploy hundreds of satellites in Earth’s orbit to allow a new kind of internet access to rival 5G. 

So, what do I think of this? I think this is absolutely incredible. 

Everything about SpaceX, I mean— trying to send people to Mars, creating a new form of internet connectivity, to pointlessly flexing on their competitors by sending a car with a space-suit-clad mannequin buckled up in the front seat. Not to mention calling their most recent rocket the Falcon Heavy, which is not really funny, but it’s not-not funny somehow, also.

We are lucky enough to be living in a time when people are projected to be living on another planet in fewer years than I have fingers. 

We should be grateful that NASA is not the only player in the game, because, with all due respect, if that were the case, I highly doubt that the idea of space exploration would be anywhere near as interesting as it is right now.

Featured image via Flickr

Additional research for this article: Britannica and NASA

  • Josh Conturo is a reporter for the Chimes and a sophomore studying emerging media with an emphasis on journalism, and loves all things related to cars, coffee, and comedy.

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