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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2965

Falcon 9: SpaceX makes history with relaunch of a rocket

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

The launch of Samsung Galaxy S8 somewhat disappointed those who recently became Samsung converts, in search of a credible alternative to Apple’s iPhone, while watching the event live online: the changes were just evolutionary; it is neither revolutionary nor a game changer.

It goes without saying that the absence of a revolutionary leap in the smartphone industry is directly related to the absence of visionaries at the helm of biggest players in the sector. In short, we can only dream that a man of late Steve Jobs calibre would appear out of the blue, in the form of a digital messiah, in order to change the stagnating technological sector beyond recognition.

Against this backdrop, the bold step taken by a great visionary of our time, in an equally significant realm, is both commendable and a breath of fresh air.

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX , could hardly hide his excitement during a press conference after the successful relaunch of Falcon-9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Centre – KSC – on Thursday.

Not only did his team successfully relaunch the rocket, but also managed to put a commercial satellite into orbit and bring the rocket back to the Earth, while erecting yet another milestone in space travel.

Falcon 9 has been in space before: it carried cargo for the astronauts stationed in the ISS – International Space Station – in April, last year. Once the mission was accomplished, it managed to land on a robotic ship in the Atlantic Ocean, maintained by SpaceX, the private space exploration company owned by Mr Musk, a co-founder of PayPal.

Rockets, once sent into space, are usually substantially damaged; the only alternative in these circumstances is to invest millions of dollars to make a new rocket – a serious challenge to a private company, when the return of investment hinges on a series of factors beyond the control of the technical team that include being at the mercy of gravity.

Mr Musk has been contemplating on the reuse of rockets for some time; his optimism sees no bounds: “The cost of space travel could be reduced by a factor of a hundred,” he once said in his own blog.

History has always been awash with doubters, when bold, risk-taking men with come-what-may attitude tried to make a breakthrough. The ridicules and mild insults aimed at Mr Musk were no exception. With the remarkable achievement, Elon Musk proved how the magical combination of vision, determination and assembling the right technical team is much more worthwhile than wasting time and energy on silencing or taking on the critics on PR front.

The cost of launch of Falcon 9, according to SpaceX website, is $62 million. Of course, a part of the cost may have paid by the company that owns the satellite that was put into orbit.

SpaceX has been trying to bring its rockets back to the Earth for a few years with the probability of success standing at 8 out of 13; so, odds are fairly in his Mr Musk’s favour.

Elon Musk is not the only man who is trying to conquer space with daring innovating steps. Jeff Bezos, the founder of online giant, Amazon, is also in space race with endless experiments with new form of rockets.


It’s not clear whether the two men see eye to eye on the relaunch of rockets. They, however, have one thing in common; both defied critics when the latter thought their innovative ideas would never move beyond their respective imaginations.

If the relaunch of the rockets are as successful as Mr Musk anticipates, they will in turn certainly bring the cost of putting satellites into orbits down substantially, which could potentially bring in countless benefits to mankind.

- Asian Tribune-

Falcon 9: SpaceX makes history with relaunch of a rocket
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