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Tracking the Falcon

Centauri Dreams focuses on the long-term, which almost always means deep space missions and interstellar possibilities. But building an industrial infrastructure in the outer Solar System also means finding much less expensive ways into space, a fact illuminated by the upcoming launch of SpaceX’s Falcon rocket from Kwajalein atoll in the Pacific. CEO Elon Musk talks about building the ‘Ford of space,’ and as noted by Michael Belfiore, Musk went on to say this in a personal interview: “Ford didn’t invent the internal combustion engine. But he found out how to make one at low cost.” Similarly, “We didn’t invent the rocket engine; what we’re trying to do is figure out how to make it low-cost.”

Belfiore’s weblog is a good place to monitor as we approach launch, which is set to occur at 1300 PST on November 25. Also be aware of Jim White’s postings from Kwajalein; White is a member of the FalconSAT-2 satellite team and is reporting on final preparations. Finally, Jeff Foust provides excellent background in a discussion of Musk’s appearance at SpaceVision 2005 in Big Plans for SpaceX.