This morning, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft to orbit on a mission to the International Space Station.
SpaceX becomes the first commercial company in history to attempt to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station — something only a handful of governments have ever accomplished.
CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk, won the Heinlein Prize® for Accomplishments in Commercial Space Activities on June 29, 2011 in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. An award of $250,000, a Lady Vivamus sword from Robert Heinlein’s novel, Glory Road, and an award diploma were presented to Elon Musk in recognition of his achievements in creating a business which successfully engages in commercial space ventures. Some of the reasons for which Elon Musk was chosen to win the Heinlein Prize® were seen today in the Falcon 9 launch.
Speaking about the commercial significance of this launch, Elon Musk said, “This mission heralds the dawn of a new era of space exploration, one in which there is a significant commercial space element. It is like the advent of the Internet in the mid-1990s when commercial companies entered what was originally a government endeavor. That move dramatically accelerated the pace of advancement and made the Internet accessible to the mass market. I think we’re at a similar inflection point for space. I hope and I believe that this mission will be historic in marking that turning point towards a rapid advancement in space transportation technology.”
The Heinlein Prize Trust offers its heartiest congratulations to SpaceX and Heinlein Prize® winner Elon Musk on this achievement in commercial space history.