We’re back in the Space Race! It will keep our Colorado aerospace industry flourishing.
We witnessed the launch of a spacecraft from US soil this week! The last time a space shuttle launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida was July 8, 2011.
The Sunday, November 8, launch went well, and the booster was recovered, and the astronauts connected to the Space Station on Monday night. They will be a welcome asset on board, as there are currently not enough occupants to do all the scientific studies needed. Now NASA can keep our money “at home” and pay SpaceX to launch our astronauts, and not pay Russia.
SpaceX is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. Elon Musk, founder and majority owner in the company, was not able to attend the launch in person due to being quarantined the day before because of the COVID-19 virus. SpaceX has developed a reusable rocket and launch system to significantly reduce the cost of space flight. It was founded in 2002 with the goal to build affordable rockets, and to enable the colonization of Mars. Their accomplishments are too numerous to list here.
The crew followed coronavirus protocols and were quarantined before the voyage. They did a “social distance” goodbye to their nearby families, before entering their Tesla cars (of course) which took them to the 229-foot-tall rocket at the Kennedy Space Center. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took a 27-hour voyage on Sunday and Monday to the International Space Station in the first operational flight of a commercially developed Crew Dragon capsule. (See CBS News article for exact details of the launch and flight.) The names of the diverse eight astronauts may become familiar in years to come by Americans: starting with the four in the SpaceX capsule, which was named Resilience. They are: Victor Glover, commander Michael Hopkins, and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
Colorado has the nation’s second-largest aerospace economy. From Kepler to Hubble Space Telescope to Dream Chaser and Orion. Colorado’s aerospace companies are at the forefront of space travel, exploration and groundbreaking research for the U.S. Government and NASA alike. With 400 companies assisting in the industry, you may recognize the names of big-name players mentioned in the aerospace industry that have home offices here are: Ball Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Harris Corp., United Launch Alliance and Sierra Nevada Corp. Colorado also possesses cutting-edge space exploration programs, four military commands and renowned research laboratories and universities. Many residents of Lyons have worked for these companies.