There’s nothing quite like an unsuccessful drone barge landing to really put a damper on an afternoon. Just hours ago I received word that the Falcon 9 landed, though a “little too hard” for “survival”. In other words, this thing came careening back into the atmosphere before slamming into the barge, and disintegrating into a fine powder that fish will eat and then subsequently shit out in their continuing effort to reconstruct various reefs and other underwater structures that are currently threatened by dramatic climate change.
Years ago, Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX set out to answer that indomitable question: what was the one thing that NASA constantly screwed up?
Spending billions of crucial dollars on complex experiments that the public didn’t understand, and that had very few calculable or physical results?
“No.” – Elon Musk.
Apparently it was that NASA wasn’t in the business of reusable rockets. And so Elon Musk set out to accomplish what Nicoli Tesla-obsessed modern day debonaires do, and privatized a rocket company.
Think about that: with space travel only a recently conquered endeavor, we already have private companies working to produce rockets that can deliver a civilian or non-lethal payload, and then return to earth INTACT. Albeit unsuccessfully.
While this may seem like almost insurmountable progress, at its core it’s a costly experiment in how to be dissipative. At my job, if I don’t get videos done at a certain time or achieve a certain result, I am chastised or even ridiculed. In the space travel industry one only has to crash rockets into things with a certain vivacity to keep people off their backs.
“Drat, it appears you crashed a 61.2 million dollar rocket into our drone barge.”
“Ah yes, it’s true. But all in the name of science!”
“Good point, carry on!”
And so it’s the less-than-successful impact of the Falcon 9, combined with the recent lethal explosion of Virgin Galactic’s rocket that makes one scratch their head and ask “why?”. And for what? And for whom?
SpaceX seems like a company lacking answers. But I’ll take as many failed booster landing videos as they’re willing to give me.