The Planetary Society today issued the following statement congratulating SpaceX on the test flight of Falcon 9:
It's hard not to launch into hyperbole at the success of the first Falcon 9 test flight. It is a tremendous achievement. Hats off to our Planetary Society Board member, Elon Musk, and his SpaceX team. In advancing commercial spaceflight, today's flight of Falcon 9 could be the first small step towards relieving NASA launchers of the burden of low-Earth orbit, thus freeing the U.S. space agency to reach new worlds.
With this success for the commercial spaceflight industry, the United States is better positioned to ramp up its ambitions for exploring the solar system. The proposal to refocus NASA's human spaceflight program beyond low-Earth orbit now looks more achievable, as this flight demonstrated that commercial rockets may soon be ready to carry supplies and, we hope, astronauts to the International Space Station.
Rocketry really is "rocket science." To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, we chose to do these things because they are hard. Putting together a complex and dangerous piece of machinery like a multi-stage rocket and making it fly to orbit is an immensely challenging thing to do. Elon Musk and his team have done the hard thing and truly deserve our congratulations.
The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. Today, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980.