Private Enterprise (Literally)

Since retiring the last Space Shuttle (Atlantis) in July 2011, the United States has lacked the capacity for manned space flight. That’s something it’s had since 1962 — so it’s a tad embarrassing.

With the U.S. struggling to adapt to changing economic realities in the world, and NASA chronically underfunded and in long-term decline, the private-sector has stepped into the breach. On Saturday, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (or SpaceX) was supposed launch an unmanned capsule called Dragon (pictured) into orbit to rendez-vous with the International Space Station.   

SpaceX got within 0.5 seconds of launching at Cape Canaveral, then something went wrong and a valve shut down, scrubbing the launch. The company is dealing with tight launch windows, and the next attempt to boldly go where no corporation has gone before will be on Tuesday at 2:44 a.m. Regina time.

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

4 thoughts on “Private Enterprise (Literally)”

  1. Technically, the US has had manned capacity since 1961, with gaps of almost two years between Mercury and Gemini, and Gemini and Apollo; and a gap of almost six years between Apollo and the Space Shuttle. (Not to mention the gaps in the Shuttle program following the Challenger and Columbia disasters.) So, ultimately, what’s happening now isn’t anything that new… save for the Congressional waffling on whatever the hell the Orion project will become.

  2. Chris Hatfield is gonna pilot a Soyuz Rocket, & become Chief driver of the ISS later this year.

  3. Interesting how Star Trek references a starship named Enterprise and the motto To Boldy Go Where No Man Has Gone Before. Private Enterprise overtaking where NASA has gone and already going.

  4. This is what Time magazine had to say about Orion last July:

    Even if the funding spigot stays open, it’s not certain that Orion will actually be able to carry people aloft as early as 2016. The private-sector companies vying to build the low-orbit spacecraft to service the space station are well along in the development of their ships, but NASA has not yet even picked a general design for its heavy-lift rocket, much less chosen a contractor. The idea that the space agency can make those decisions, secure the funding and get a whole new rocket — the biggest the U.S. has ever built — from computer screen to launchpad within five years is an improbable one at best.

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