Emerging industries are the Wild West of the 21st Century, and nowhere are things wilder than in the emerging private space enterprise industry. Driven by entrepreneurs, many of whom put their own wealth from successful Internet ventures into their new space companies, it's the natural venue for the search for opportunity where no one has gone before. In this case, the opportunity is to make space transportation better, faster, and cheaper; and at least one famous entrepreneur, Elon Musk, secured a big win for the industry with the successful launch of Falcon 9 last Friday.
"This has really been a fantastic day, certainly one of the greatest days of my life," Musk said. "As many people know, we would have been excited to even have the first stage work or get some of the way through the second stage burn. As I said before, it would be a great day if we got to orbit. And, thankfully, it has been a great day."
Eric Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Space Adventures
, showed his support along with many others from all sectors of the space industry: "It's a tremendous accomplishment for SpaceX to succeed on the first try for Falcon 9. There's a bright future ahead for the commercial spaceflight industry and it was a big day."
Why is this success so important for this young industry? Because it takes these kinds of successes to keep people energized and moving forward--even relatively small wins (and this was not a small win) if they happen frequently can inspire people to get involved in the industry.. This is not to say that there won't be problems in the future--there always are in young industries (and even old ones - look at BP)--but success creates momentum and makes it easier for everyone in the industry to move forward.
If you recall my previous post
about the challenges facing this young industry as it seeks to offer the commercial carriers for cargo and eventually humans into space, it's exciting to realize that we're all witnessing the birth of an industry that will include not only the traditional sectors, but also the whole area of space tourism. There are many stakeholders who will benefit from the successes of the pioneers: robotic companies, the hospitality industry, the adventure travel industry, venture capital companies, design companies, green tech companies--as well as all the companies that manufacture all the parts that go into the vehicles.
We live in an exciting time in this industry. Yes, it will be a bumpy ride, but, my, what an amazing adventure it will be!