Forget Dragon, the Falcon 9 rocket is the secret sauce of SpaceX’s success

From Eric Berger at Ars Technica:

Over the course of the decade, she said, SpaceX has used the Falcon 9 rocket to not only capture the commercial satellite launch market, but NASA’s cargo and crew programs, some of its science missions, and, increasingly, military contracts. The Falcon 9 rocket first stage also is the foundation of the Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful booster in the world. “SpaceX has really demonstrated that vehicle as being very adaptable,” she said. “It has quite a record.”

Around the world, companies and countries are struggling to compete. In America, United Launch Alliance is retiring its Atlas and Delta rockets in favor of the more competitive Vulcan booster. Japan’s H3 rocket was inspired by a need to reduce prices. Russia is phasing out its storied Proton rocket. Arianespace is retiring the venerable Ariane 5 rocket in favor of a lower cost Ariane 6. It remains to be seen whether any of these boosters can catch up to the Falcon 9, because SpaceX is always moving, Christensen said.

A great story of the Falcon 9 rocket, which has pretty much single-handedly turned around the USA’s space fortunes in the past 10-15 years.

SpaceX’s 1st Crew Dragon with astronauts docks at space station in historic rendezvous


SpaceX launched Behnken and Hurley into space Saturday on a test flight, dubbed Demo-2, that lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Their Crew Dragon docked itself at the station 10:16 a.m. EDT (14216 GMT) as both spacecraft sailed 262 miles (422 kilometers) above the border of China and Mongolia. 

“Dragon, arriving,” NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy said from inside the station as he range a traditional ship’s bell. “Bob and Doug, we’re glad to have you as part of the crew.”

It was so amazing to watch this with my family this weekend. It’s been over 9 years since the USA could launch our astronauts into orbit and the entire SpaceX portfolio is so fascinating to me. It’s nice to have some good news these days.