Elon Musk and his SpaceX team earned a place in the history books last week with the first docking of a private spacecraft at the International Space Station. After ten years of continuous effort and frequent setbacks, Musk’s vision of a low-cost, entrepreneurial space company is beginning to bear fruit. SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA that calls for the delicate docking maneuver to be repeated many times so that the space station can be resupplied. However, it is likely to be a long time before the final verdict is rendered on whether commercial space ventures gave a boost to mankind’s future beyond the Earth, and many things could still go wrong. Even if the technology and the economics of low-cost spaceflight prove viable, there is no guarantee investors will be impressed. I have written a commentary for Forbes that you can read here.
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