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.
About The Planetary Society
With a global community of more than 2 million space enthusiasts, The Planetary Society is the world’s largest and most influential space advocacy organization. Founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman and today led by CEO Bill Nye, we empower the public to take a meaningful role in advancing space exploration through advocacy, education outreach, scientific innovation, and global collaboration. Together with our members and supporters, we’re on a mission to explore worlds, find life off Earth, and protect our planet from dangerous asteroids. To learn more, visit www.planetary.org.