The Focus forum is now closed.
We're sad to make this announcement because, over the years, the forum has provided fascinating debate on science and technology, and we’ve often printed the discussions in the magazine.
We’d like to thank everyone who’s joined in and made it such interesting reading for fellow forum members and all of us who work on the magazine.
Graham Southorn, BBC Focus magazine
A new era in space exploration dawned Tuesday as a slender rocket shot into the dark Florida sky before sunrise, carrying the first private spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.
"We're now back on the brink of a new future, a future that embraces the innovation the private sector brings to the table," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "The significance of this day cannot be overstated."
The unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 3:44 a.m., carrying 1,300 pounds of food, clothing and scientific experiments on a demonstration mission to gauge the company's ability to safely and efficiently deliver supplies to astronauts staffing the orbiting station.
M Paul Lloyd wrote:I expect they are finally beginning to understand why space travel is so very expensive. )
Anonymous1952 wrote:SpaceX would be more accurately described as public private partnership than "commercial space travel".
At least 40% of the Dragon is publicly funded by NASA. Plus SpaceX is using the publicly financed facilities at Cape Canaveral. Their only "business" is supplying the ISS which is funded with taxes from around the world.
The problem is not the public private partnership which in many ways is very healthy and appropriate.
The problem is too many of those associated with SpaceX are opposing public funding of our social safety nets as they sing the praises of free market capitalism while at the same time they lap up massive subsidies from the public trough.
When hedge funds, venture capitalists, private business banks, and capital raised from stock sales fund 100% of such projects, then their advocates can brag about the success of private sector space travel.
"It looks like we've got us a dragon by the tail," NASA astronaut Don Pettit radioed to NASA Mission Control in Houston.
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