Thursday, June 03, 2010

That Prelaunch Buzz

Tomorrow is the scheduled launch date for the first attempted launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The Falcon 9 rocket is the SpaceX company's vehicle for providing launch services to NASA and other customers (commercial, government and international).

Inevitably, the launch has gotten caught up in the debate over the Obama Administration's new space policy, which emphasizes commercial crew transport to the International Space Station (ISS). For a little perspective, a successful test will only be one step in demonstrating commercial readiness to carry humans to orbit. And a failure will by no means disprove the potential for commercial enterprise to carry humans into space. Space efforts, especially those involving a new vehicle, involve fits and starts and a lot of persistence on the way to providing safe and reliable new capabilities.

The Falcon 9 was raised on its pad at Cape Canaveral on Wednesday. Weather is forecast to be 60% favorable for launch, though prudently cautious management of this first test launch means that a a scrub to another day would not be surprising.
(SpaceFlightNow is providing mission status coverage here.)

Still, there is that feeling the night before a major launch attempt that we are about to witness history being made. Go SpaceX!

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