Sunday, June 06, 2010
The definition of "benefit" here is "that which makes more people look up in the sky and think about space than they otherwise would". And what made a lot of people look up into the sky after the launch? A spiraling booster from the Falcon 9 rocket that came down over Australia, looking like a UFO (okay, it was a UFO by definition at the time since it was unidentified) and causing quite a stir.
Here's what it looked like (warning: music in the second one):
Not too bad at all.
Bob McDonald from CBC also has a blog entry here on the flight, complete with a cost comparison between the Falcon 9 and the Shuttle. A Falcon 9 (which will eventually be permitted to launch humans as well) will be able to take people to the ISS for about $50 million, a full 20 times cheaper. Also not too bad at all.