Elon Musk has successfully launched his new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, BBC News reported yesterday.
This, according to BBC News, should open up new possibilities for the entrepreneur and his company, but the launch could also mark a significant paradigm shift.
Simply put, the Falcon Heavy launch could be a real game-changer in a few different ways.
“It’ll be game-over for all other heavy-lift rockets,” Musk told reporters.
The Falcon Heavy launch could also open up a sense of possibility, Musk argues, and SpaceX wants competition in space.
“I think it’s going to encourage other companies and countries to say, ‘hey, if SpaceX, which is a commercial company, and it can do this, and nobody paid for Falcon Heavy, it was paid with internal funds,’ then they could do it, too. So I think it’s going to encourage other countries and companies to raise their sights and say, ‘we can do bigger and better,’ which is great,” Musk told reporters during a press conference yesterday, Business Insider reported.
“We want a new space race. Space races are exciting,” the SpaceX founder and CEO added.
Did SpaceX open the cosmos to the masses? Ars Technica’s Eric Berger argues that it did. The new rocket may play an important role in science missions to the outer planets. The Falcon Heavy may even disrupt the defense, commercial, space science and human exploration markets, Berger claims.
Apart from that, the launch may accelerate other countries’ efforts when it comes to space exploration.
The 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States, has had a profound impact on science, math, and technology.
If Elon Musk is right, and if indeed a new space race is emerging, who knows what lies ahead?
Other countries and other companies may want to join in, and to an extent, they already have.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos told Geek Wire last year that he sells about $1 billion worth of Amazon stock each year and then uses the money to invest in Blue Origin, his own aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight service company.
China’s economic growth in the past few decades has reflected in space too. China is challenging the United States for dominance in space, artificial intelligence, and similar technologies.
“Future conflicts on Earth are more likely to have a space component,” Brian Weeden, director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation, told Vice last year.
According to Vice, the next space race will likely include more than two competitors.
Countries like China and India, a country which launched a single rocket that carried 104 satellites into low-earth orbit last year, are challenging American and Russian space efforts.
If Elon Musk is right, other private companies could join the race too. Whatever happens, it seems like exciting times are ahead.