SpaceX said it became the first commercial company in history to recover a spacecraft from orbit with Wednesday’s successful flight of its Dragon vehicle. “There’s so much that can go wrong and it all went right,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket carried Dragon into space from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., during a demonstration flight for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. COTS seeks to develop a commercial means of supplying the International Space Station. The Dragon capsule orbited Earth, re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, and then safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean several hours later, according to NASA. “This is really an amazing accomplishment for SpaceX,” said Alan Lindenmoyer, NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo program manager. Airmen of the 45th Space Wing supported the launch, the second Falcon 9 test flight. (SpaceX release) (Cape Canaveral release) (See also NASA’s COTS webpage)
As the Air Force pursues Agile Combat Employment, biocement could let the service build or expand airfields in days, without the heavy equipment involved in traditional construction.