Y’know how it’s pretty much impossible to get anything into space unless you go through government channels via NASA or some similar… oh, wait, what? SpaceX? Private citizens? Welcome to the future!
SpaceX made history early Tuesday morning (depending on where you are on the globe) by being the first privately funded commercial space vehicle to visit the International Space Station (ISS). Space X’s Dragon spacecraft delivered much-needed supplies to the station, but they also brought along a veteran space traveler as a passenger; a portion of the remains of James Doohan, Star Trek’s Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott, caught a lift aboard the Dragon in accordance with the actor’s wishes for his remains to be brought to space. It wasn’t Doohan’s first trip into space. In April of 2007, 7 grams of his ashes were sent into space for about 4 minutes as part of a suborbital flight on the SpaceLoft XL rocket. The next year they were launched again aboard the Falcon 1, but that trip failed after two minutes.
This won’t be the last trip into space for SpaceX or their Dragon vessel, either; the company has plans for further launches, both to further supply the ISS and to test new launch vehicles, including the Falcon Heavy. Packing 27 Merlin rocket engines, the Heavy will be a beast. (As the name suggests, the Falcon 9 has nine of them.) 27 Merlin rockets will give the Falcon Heavy the ability to carry huge amounts of mass into space, which will lower the price per pound of a trip to the lowest point it’s ever been at in history. This can only mean good things for space exploration.
Did you catch the launch? Any thoughts about it? Let us know in the comments!