Wednesday is looking like a watershed moment in history. The scheduled afternoon launch of a SpaceX Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 4:33 p.m. would mark the first time a privately owned vehicle takes astronauts into orbit.
Elon Musk, the billionaire space entrepreneur and chief executive of Tesla Inc., founded SpaceX in 2002. If the launch succeeds — bad weather could push it to Saturday — it would be the company’s crowning achievement to date.
Musk’s hope is to enable the colonization of Mars. Delivering two astronauts to the International Space Station suggests that his grand ambition might be more than a pipe dream.
Even if not, it will be a breakthrough moment in the commercialization of space. All of a sudden, space tourism seems plausible. If SpaceX can fly astronauts from Florida to the orbiting laboratory, then why couldn’t it fly you and me — soon — to an orbiting restaurant to have dinner above the atmosphere?
For years, the U.S. has been buying rides to space from Russia, spending $3.5 billion for 52 rides since 2011. Instead of turning to Russia, NASA will now rely on private-sector spacecraft. For many Americans, this will be a needed boost of pride.
For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-05-26/elon-musk-s-manned-spacex-launch-makes-the-space-business-serious