Not to be overly dramatic, but we certainly have entered a new era in spaceflight. For those of you who haven’t heard, the Dragon X spacecraft has become the first commercially-developed and owned spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station. You can read more about it here at Bad Astronomer’s blog on Discover Magazine.
Why is this so important? Well, for one, this shows that we are no longer completely reliant on governments to enter space. As Carl Sagan said in his very first episode of Cosmos, we are standing on the shore and have waded in ankle deep. The problem is that’s as far as we’ve gone. Space exploration is expensive, and doing it for science’s sake isn’t enough.
So now we have commercialization of space. I’m ok with this. International laws are in place to protect and limit space exploitation to peaceful purposes, so I’ll support whatever it takes to get us back.