Why the SpaceX launch will likely change forever the way the world approaches space exploration.

It may sound like the stuff from a David Bowie song but it’s the first time a private company will be in charge of sending astronauts to orbit.
And there’s already a movie in the making!

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, announced last month via Twitter that May 27 would be the target launch date for sending NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Col. Doug Hurley to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, aboard a rocket built by the Elon Musk company SpaceX.

After yesterdays planned launch was postponed due to weather, SpaceX rescheduled the launch on Saturday at 3:22 p.m. Eastern time.

If successful, it will be the first crewed spacecraft launch in the United States since the end of the space shuttle program back in 2011.

Why so much hype about it?

A bit of backstory — The 2003 shuttle Columbia accident left NASA dependent on Russian spacecrafts Soyuz to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station until April this year.

Now, the American space program instead of building its own replacement for the shuttle, is handing over responsibility for carrying astronauts to a private company: Space X.

Even though the passengers are still NASA astronauts, this launch will be the first time a private company and not a governmental space agency will be in charge of sending astronauts to orbit.

As an instinct reaction, this dymanic made me think of hybrid between a gig economy approach paired with privatisation of a branch of public sector and in a way it is since the next steps are already headed towards a profit-oriented business model.

Two companies have already announced their plans to “book” launches in the Crew Dragon (SpaceX’s capsule) to take non-NASA passengers: one would offer the opportunity to visits the International Space Station while the other would offer an elliptical orbit around Earth.

Last but not least, the possibility to shoot a film in space is already in the talks. Here’s a clue: it’s not a Mission Impossible but close enough.

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

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