Worldview Tech Item of the Day
Private, commercial exploitation of space just got closer with the successful fourth attempt by the company SpaceX to get its Falcon 1 launch vehicle into orbital space. This success represents a milestone because it is the first venture that did not involve government-industrial complex members to make happen.
Private space exploitation will benefit all of us through the reduced cost of launching payloads–primarily satellites–and by opening space to a wider range of research and development than can be afforded using the current government controlled space programs. Reduced cost launches promise the potential for cheap satellite internet and cell-phone service, competitive satellite television service, and low-g manufacturing (a product of which could be better semi-conductors).
In addition to the commercialization of space benefit, there is the great potential for spin-off technologies akin to the technologies that came from the Apollo program. The difference from the Apollo spin-offs will be that private companies like SpaceX can immediately market or license those technologies to the public without having to go through the government process.
Overall, successes like this one and SpaceShipOne represent the potential for the next great technological explosion like the one set off by the advent of the personal computer in the 70s. We could see the benefits of this technology in our own lifetimes, and that is an exciting prospect to consider.