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The Flight of the Dragon

15 May 2012, 19:22 UTC
The Flight of the Dragon
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If things go according to plan Saturday, the world will witness SpaceX launch its first Dragon cargo supply mission to the International Space Station. As this flight has been heralded as the dawn of a new age in spaceflight – a paradigm shift in the way the spaceflight is approached – it is appropriate to [...]

The Falcon 9 launch vehicle (SpaceX/Chris Thompson)
If things go according to plan Saturday, the world will witness SpaceX launch its first Dragon cargo supply mission to the International Space Station. As this flight has been heralded as the dawn of a new age in spaceflight – a paradigm shift in the way the spaceflight is approached – it is appropriate to step back for some reflection and perspective on what this flight may or may not represent. As noted by many, this particular cargo flight has a lot riding on it – with overarching concern for success (even if a bit unfair), created in part both by vociferous advocacy and excessive public pronouncements.
1. A successful or unsuccessful result from this flight neither confirms nor negates the value and/or viability of commercial spaceflight.
This proposition should be obvious. Launch to orbit is an ...

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