The past couple of days have really been historic. In addition to the first Chinese space walk on Friday, while on Sunday, the 28th, SpaceX, a privately owned company, launched the first privately funded rocket into orbit, after several failed attempts over the past year.
This is an absolutely historic event, right up there alongside the successful launch of SpaceShip 1 back in 2004, which brought about the first privately funded spacecraft to hit an orbit of 100 km. Hopefully, it’s the slow start of a very new era in space travel, one that I suspect will grow over the next couple of decades as it becomes a more viable commercial endeavor. This sort of business has a lot of potential for the civilian and military markets, for a fairly cheap (I read $100,000 somewhere) alternative to get things into orbit. It’s a bit of a long shot from fairly flashy things like the Space Shuttle or an Apollo project, but it’s a start, one that is very, very exciting.
What’s really cool about this? The crew attached a camera on the side of the rocket, and the entire flight up can be seen here: