The following editorial appeared recently in the Orlando Sentinel:
Amid a news cycle dominated by the presidential campaign, the recent successful end to the first official private cargo mission to the International Space Station went largely unheralded. And that's not such a bad sign.
SpaceX, the California-based rocket builder, launched a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule from Cape Canaveral on Oct. 7 carrying more than 800 pounds of supplies for the space station. The capsule safely splashed down in the Pacific three weeks later, packed with almost twice as much Earth-bound stuff from the station.
Though the mission wasn't perfect — one of the rocket's engines shut down after launch, and it failed to deliver a private satellite to the proper orbit — it went well enough that NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk were crowing afterward.
The positive results backed up the Obama administration's smart decision to privatize the job of carrying cargo — and in a few more years, astronauts — to low Earth orbit so that NASA can focus its limited resources on deep-space exploration.
SpaceX plans 11 more cargo missions to the station under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. Those missions are set to launch from Cape Canaveral, a badly needed boost for the Space Coast after last year's end of the shuttle program. Continued success could pave the way for more Florida missions from SpaceX and other private rocketeers.
Critics called privatization in space too risky. Now it's heading toward routine. That's good for the space program, for Florida and for the nation.
- My view: The solution to Utah's water problems
- In our opinion: Legislators need to better...
- Dan Liljenquist: What we learned from the...
- My view: Is the Division of Water Resources...
- My view: Get insurance out of health care
- My view: hippies, 2 Hell's Angels, one...
- Last year's Utah Compromise is a model in...
- Richard Davis: Do presidents have to be...
- Richard Davis: Do presidents have to be... 55
- My view: Get insurance out of health care 47
- My view: Obama's veto won't save Obamacare 34
- In our opinion: Attempting to... 32
- My view: 'Death with dignity' and... 27
- In our opinion: Concerned voters a good... 23
- Trump and Sanders 22
- John Hoffmire: Electric cars and the... 20