Elon Musk — the visionary entrepreneur responsible for PayPal, Tesla, and SolarCity — is at it again. His latest pet project, SpaceX, aims to make space transport cheaper and more efficient. That’s just the beginning, though. Musk’s ultimate goal is to take people to Mars.
This weekend, SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral. The rocket delivered the SES-9 satellite into orbit. SES-9, one of SpaceX’s largest satellites yet, will help provide internet access to underserved regions of the globe, including “Northeast Asia, South Asia, and Indonesia,” as well as ships on the Indian Ocean. This is part of SpaceX’s mission to improve lives globally through privatized space technology.
Lucky passengers on one Florida flight got to watch the rocket from windows of their plane. The pilot even slowed the plane, encouraging everyone to watch the spectacle. Passenger Will Carr posted on Reddit, “Pretty much everyone was glued to the windows. After he said we had to speed up again everyone was clapping. It was amazing.” Carr's stunning photos are available here.
After detaching, Falcon 9 plummeted back to Earth, where it crash landed on a droneship in the ocean. Musk has been trying to develop reusable rockets that can land without being destroyed on impact. On December 22, 2015, SpaceX became the first venture to land an orbit-capable rocket safely.
The most recent landing attempt was more difficult, as the target was a barge floating in the ocean. Musk, nevertheless, calls the results of this mission encouraging. The crash landing was expected, and improvements continue.
Rocket landed hard on the droneship. Didn't expect this one to work (v hot reentry), but next flight has a good chance.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 5, 2016
Musk won’t be sending people to Mars yet, but he's optimistic about SpaceX’s future. He has stated that by 2035 he expects traffic between a Mars colony and Earth to be well established.
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