COTS in Space: Enter The Dragon

By Mike Deliman

Deliman_lg Congratulations to Space Exploration Technologies Inc, on their successful venture into orbit.  By launching the Dragon into orbit, successfully orbiting the earth more than once, and returning to the ground, you've made history.

I wish I could have watched the launch and later the landing.  This is absolutely a historic event.

Given the cancellation of the Ares projects, and the recent failure of the launch of the GLONASS satellites, it would seem SpaceX has impeccable timing.

I don't think there was really a question about weather or not commercial entities could handle space exploration and the creation of rockets.  One of the big questions was "could it be done safely without all the oversight?"  As was pointed out in the NASA COTS press conference recently, one of the big cost-cutting features was less of the "Mother May I" game.  Part of the traditional oversight is an absurd level of control – once you've successfully completed one phase, you have to wait for the approval cycle before you start the next phase.  In the commercial sector the cycle is all internal – your boss says "yah, get busy, your deadline is last week!" – they don't have to submit a request to a committee for approval.  I have no doubt this could cut costs and save time.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of SpaceX's efforts and more launches!

Move over Space Shuttle, Commercial Orbital Transportation Services are getting ready to open.