SpaceX and founder Elon Musk are far from where they started over a decade ago. Early failed attempts and major setbacks, some of which almost ended the company, only forged company into something more tenacious than the rest; and has brought the Hawthorne, CA-based company closer to their long-term goal of putting a human colony on Mars.
In earlier years, it was safe to mock the startup as another overly ambitious stunt, much like Tesla and SolarCity was before electric vehicles and solar panels gained mainstream prominence. Now, things are getting serious with SpaceX. Successful rocket landings have greatly reduced the cost to launch things into space, making satellite deliveries and space station resupplies more affordable to businesses and government agencies across the globe.
This neat infographic article by Bloomberg.com shows a history of their launches, payloads, successes, and failures from just 2 in 2010 to 10 (so far) this year.
It might be time to take what Elon Musk is planning for the future and consider the ramifications. Even if SpaceX does fail, how far behind is the next attempt? As the saying goes, shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. If Mars does prove to be impossible (for now) what about the moon? It’s much closer to us than the red planet. Asteroid mining also appears lucrative, with some companies optimistically expecting it a reality by 2025.
It would appear we’re on the cusp of a second space age, with plenty of possibilities for business, exploration, discovery, and colonization rapidly approaching the horizon. As a species, we’ve looked up to the stars at night in wonder and awe for millennia. It’s long past time we grasp that mantle of expansion and push into new frontiers. SpaceX is certainly helping lead the way.