Thursday, June 17, 2010
Today's biggest story in space development was certainly the contract SpaceX signed with Iridium Communications for $492 million, to launch satellites for the company using the Falcon 9 (the rocket that had its first successful flight last week) from 2015 to 2017. Though from a scientific standpoint there's nothing interesting here at all, it's significant in that this is exactly what private business is all about, one company making a deal with another company and each benefiting from the arrangement. In addition to Iridium Communications, SpaceX of course has the deal with NASA to eventually launch cargo (and perhaps people) to the International Space Station, as well as another smaller deal with Taiwan to launch a few satellites for them. So we are beginning to see the first real successes for this company, and considering their pricing scheme as long as their rockets continue to succeed SpaceX should only get busier and busier. I believe with this deal they now will be launching from three locations - Kwajelein Atoll, Cape Canaveral, and Vandenberg Air Force Base.