“Crazy Things Can Come True.” – Elon Musk
When asked what had been learned from the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy from the Kennedy Space Center earlier this week, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said, “Crazy things can come true.”
I confess to having been a space enthusiast since the beginning of the manned space program. And, it has been sad to see us lose some of our edge in space exploration, especially in one critically important area, that of having the lift capability to make exploration even possible.
So, we should all take a moment to watch and celebrate just what, SpaceX, a private company has accomplished. To appreciate the magnitude of what was done only takes a few minutes of viewing a YouTube video that, as of this moment, is approaching 20 million views. That so many took the time to watch what is now the most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two, suggests interest in a vibrant space program exists.
The launch was spectacular, as was the eight minutes that followed when the two sixteen story tall side boosters separated, turned around and returned to their Kennedy Center landing pads is some of the most exciting video you will ever see. Elon Musk, who has seen a thing or two, says it is absolutely the most exciting thing he has ever seen!
Needing to demonstrate lift capability requires a certain amount of weight be placed in the payload areas. Not one to settle for cement blocks, Musk provided a $200,000 Tesla automobile complete with a spacesuit attired “driver.” Again, all of this captured live and broadcast to a worldwide audience.
The press briefing by Elon Musk was also something rather remarkable. He was clearly amazed by what he and his team had accomplished. He addressed a room of reporters that seemed almost hushed as Musk’s slow and careful description of events was shared.
All that needed to be accomplished had been accomplished with only one glitch. Musk shared with the group that the center booster simply ran low on fuel and could not slow enough to land on a floating landing site in the ocean. He broke the news that it actually hit the water at 300 miles an hour, adding it should make for some amazing pictures if cameras survived!
Throughout the broadcast, hundreds of SpaceX employees who witnessed the launch and booster recovery are cheering and exhibiting unrestrained euphoria. They were witness to a launch and showed all who watched a large and important part of the space program’s future.
Without a doubt, those who accomplished what many considered impossible are people who, in their celebration, deserve our appreciation.
Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.