The day we learned about CRS-10
While most people are fascinated by space, the terminology and status of space missions can seem confusing and become a blur.
For example, most people have recognition of names like Elon Musk and can visualise images from broadcast news (eg a rocket explosion).
Now, take the Sunday, 19 February 2017 launch of the latest supply mission to the International Space Station!
It made news and the image of the take-off will become known for lots of good reasons.
The main reason Outback Astronomy will recall CRS-10, code name for the 10th Commercial Resupply Services mission to the ISS, is because it was a milestone mission.
CRS-10 demonstrates humans are now capable of launching reusable rockets!
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from the Kennedy Space Centre, launched an unmanned Dragon spacecraft into orbit less than 2.5 minutes later, then re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and landed on solid ground at Cape Canaveral.
CRS-10 will therefore become special code symbolising the next great human leap in becoming more efficient with space travel and exploration.
By the way, the Dragon spacecraft, laden with just over two tonnes of supplies for astronauts, will rendezvous with the ISS and dock with it in another day or so.
In the meantime, SpaceX company people on the ground will be celebrating for a long time no doubt, knowing that they have now solved a major impediment to interplanetary missions, like travel to Mars.
Musk has been quoted in the past saying reusable rockets will drop the price of space transport by a factor of 100!
SpaceX was founded in 2002 because Musk aims to put humans on Mars.
Image Credit SpaceX. CRS-10 – consisting of the Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad for liftoff.