Foundation Calls First Commercial Orbital Flight “Historic”
The Space Frontier Foundation congratulated SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) for completing the world’s first commercial orbital spaceflight and recovery. The flight began this morning from Cape Canaveral in Florida, as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket placed a fully functional Dragon capsule into Earth orbit. After circling the planet twice, the capsule returned using parachutes and landed in the Pacific ocean at its planned target.
“This flight will go down in history as a turning point for the opening of space to regular people,” said Foundation Co-Founder Rick Tumlinson. “It may not be Yuri Gagarin, but it is certainly the equivalent of Sputnik for commercial spaceflight!”
The Foundation has long advocated the emergence of New Space companies like SpaceX that are using basic commercial principles to open the space frontier to Americans and the people of the world. After nearly 50 years of government dominating human spaceflight, the group believes NASA’s job should now be to explore the Far Frontier of space, from the Moon to Mars, asteroids and beyond — and leave operational tasks, such as carrying people and payloads into orbit, to the private sector.
“NASA is right to celebrate this achievement, as it further proves that their bet on commercial industry as their new partners is going to pay off,” said Foundation Executive Director William Watson. “American companies can do amazing things when government offers them the chance to perform, rather than trying to compete with them.”
“That also includes large established companies like Boeing and United Launch Alliance,” added Co-Founder James Muncy. “SpaceX’s first Dragon flight is just the harbinger of a new chapter in the opening of space. Our leaders in Congress should recognize that capitalism works in space too, and get on the right side of history and fully invest in this high-payoff new industry, instead of just propping up the Shuttle industrial complex.”