Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Congressional critics of the new NASA plan offered SpaceX lukewarm praise, at best. The launch “is a belated sign that efforts to develop modest commercial space cargo capabilities are showing some promising signs,” said Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee. “This test does not change the fact that commercial space programs are not ready to close the gap in human spaceflight if the space shuttle is retired this year with no proven replacement capability and the Constellation program is simultaneously canceled, as the president proposes.”

Others in the industry sided with the White House, including Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation. “Today’s SpaceX launch strengthens my hope that commercial space companies will at long last remove the cost barrier that slows our exploration of the solar system,” he said.

NASA administrator Charles Bolden praised the launch. “SpaceX’s accomplishment is an important milestone in the commercial transportation effort and puts the company a step closer to providing cargo services to the International Space Station,” he said in a statement issued shortly after the successful launch. “This launch of the Falcon 9 gives us even more confidence that a resupply vehicle will be available after the space shuttle fleet is retired.”

SpaceX is not the only company interested in carrying cargo and crews to the ISS. Orbital Sciences Corporation, with a similar COTS award from NASA, is developing its own launch vehicle, the Taurus II, and cargo spacecraft, called Cygnus. Orbital plans to perform a test flight of the Taurus II and Cygnus in the first half of 2011. United Launch Alliance, the joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin that manufactures the Atlas and Delta rockets, has also expressed interest in upgrading those rockets to be able fly crewed spacecraft.

14 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: AP Photo/John Raoux
Video by Chris Thompson, SpaceX, edited by Brittany Sauser

Tagged: Computing, NASA, SpaceX, launch vehicle, NASA budget, rockets, Falcon 9, NASA COTS

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »