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“International competition rather than international cooperation motivated states to open terrestrial frontiers for centuries, and that motivation will have to be harnessed again for our species to permanently occupy other worlds of the solar system.”

from Reopening the Space Frontier by John Hickman

SpaceX test explosion... next!

TaggedSpace, SpaceX

December 6th, 1957 Vanguard TV3 blew up and destroyed a significant portion of its Cape Canaveral launch pad.  Media reports were quick to put the cost of the project in the header of their stories... just under the famous headlines with the catchy words: Flopnik, Kaputnik, Oopsnik and Stayputnik.

11 and a half years later the largest rocket ever built had safely delivered two Human Beings to the surface of the moon and just a few years after that the media was so bored with successful flights that the coverage of the walks of 10 other human beings on another world sloped off to casual mentions. 

With time and experience, even the most dangerous and exciting technologies become accepted and even boring.  The work of SpaceX and Blue Origin and others to come is exciting, but the excitement will likely evolve just like Nascar racing - A token media presence will still be at some launches but - honestly - their unspoken hope is simply that they'll be there to catch the best view of a good fire. 

Cars can and will crash no matter who or what is doing the driving. Rockets can and will blow up no matter who or what does the designing.  And with every spectacular failure the engineers take one more item off of the 'Unknown unknowns' list.

We still get in the car every day with our kids and we must still launch rockets as often as we can *for* them.



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