Last week SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket into space. The mission put one of Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadsters on a trip to the sun, and verified that a private corporation could fund the launching of rockets that brings us one step closer to making space travel a possibility for the average person.
The last time NASA put a shuttle into space was 2011. Since then, the shuttle program has gone quiet, as NASA has cooperated with other international space agencies to send astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station.
To be honest, I almost missed the launch. I was vaguely aware that SpaceX was set to test another launch (after a previous attempt failed in explosion), and only joined in on waiting for the launch with about 24-hours to go. But something about the launch spoke to me. It was exciting on a level I haven’t felt in a long time.
I suppose I was too young to appreciate the shuttle program when it was in full swing. I have been to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and I have see a shuttle up close. I’ve even met former astronauts, but I never felt the same excitement that I felt last week as I (while in a meeting taking minutes) watched the rocket’s launch sequence ignited the jets and sent the tube of fuel skyward. I felt emotional, and somehow connected to the quest to illuminate the cosmos to uncover its mysteries.
While it’s too early to say that SpaceX has achieved something unique or set humanity on a course towards space travel, I can say that for a brief moment last week, a lot more things seemed possible.
If you have a chance, I highly recommend watching the launch and learning more about the program. The final minute of the launch sequence starts at the 21 minute mark.