On Wednesday, December 8th, SpaceX accomplished what no other private company ever has: launching a space capsule into orbit and recovering the capsule on its return to Earth.
“This achievement creates a paradigm shift in the U.S. launch industry while delivering on Elon Musk’s promise of increased access to space for mankind,” said Patricia Hynes, ISPCS Chair. “It will reinvigorate the commercial launch industry, creating a new space economy in this country, another goal of Elon’s. All of us fostering this business send our most profound congratulations to Elon Musk and his team at SpaceX. One man can make a difference.”
The historic flight came just eight years after Musk founded the company. SpaceX accomplished what only five nations and none of the world’s aerospace giants have ever done. The Dragon capsule was launched from Cape Canaveral, FL, aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. After being placed into orbit, the capsule circled the Earth three times before splashing down near its target in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico. The capsule is being readied to ferry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station.