How Much of a Success Was SpaceX’s Soft Landing?

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April 25 (Bloomberg) –- Silicon Valley Space Center Managing Director Sean Casey and Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson and Peter Cook discuss SpaceX’s first soft landing of its Falcon 9 rocket. They speak with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)

How successful do you think it was?

Well, i think based on what mr.

Musk had to say, the telemetry from the first stage indicated that it had come down successfully and that it had maneuvered to a zero velocity point before dropping into the ocean.

The comment from musk was that the ocean was pretty choppy and so that contributed to the demise of the vehicle, but based on the telemetry which is pretty much how we get all of our engineering data back from launches, the telemetry indicated that the vehicle performed successfully and is ready to move on to the next stage of testing.

Cory, what's your assessment about how good this launch was and the prospects, the future of reusable rockets?

Well, i think we have to take this in the context of when it's being announced and how it's being announced.

So the company and musk are challenging they lost the attempt to earn this contract, $70 billion in satellite launching for the military.

We don't know the numbers, it's a secret contract.

They're protesting this.

Their argument is, hey, just because we haven't passed all of the tests required of us, just because we don't have a functioning system yet, we have this great technology that could be cheaper.

We vice president shown you the numbers.

We haven't been able to prove it yet.

I really look at this as a discussion of this technology that he is trying to develop, but trying to insist that it's ready for prime time when it's still being tested.

I think that context is really important here.

This isn't just two separate announcements, one of a lawsuit against the government trying to get another shot at a contract they didn't win, and the second being an announcement of a success of something that we have never seen the evidence of that crashed into the ocean where they're fishing out pieces and blaming the weather.

I think they have to be taken in the combined context to understand why they're saying these things right now as part of an effort of space-ex to portray itself as a successful technological exercise already.

Peter, you have been following this very closely.

Doesn't this lawsuit pose a risk to musk, to space ex?

Well, it does because he wants the air force to be a huge customer.

He wants to do military satellite launches for the air force and by suing your biggest customer, you do take a risk.

There is a chance they hold that against him down the line in the future, but it also shows you how much money is at stake here.

They want to take on these entrenched interests of lockheed martin and boeing, the two giants of aerospace who have combined to form united launch alliance.

They had a strangle hold on these contracts, on these military satellite launches for years.

If he can get his foot in the door and prove to the air force that he can do it on a cheaper basis, he has the makings of a real business that could make money over time.

Cory mentioned the number, $70 billion through 2030, that's what they expect to spend on these satellite launches.

He wants a piece of that pie.

The news conference today was an effort to stick his foot in the door and get congress, he has already gotten some support from john mccain on this front to look if there is real competition here.

Sean, what else does musk have to prove here?

One of the space-ex comments has been the notion that the goalposts have been moving continuously.

That space x was to have three successful launches in five months.

They have done that.

They have also talked about the cost for the boeing-lockheed service which comes in at about $380 million per flight.

Spacex believes that it can do it at a fraction of that which is about $100 million a flight.

And in addition, spacex and perhaps others considered that the engines are coming from russia.

If we're putting ourselves on a critical path where we require mr.

Putin's cooperation in successfully launching our vehicles, this could be a problem in the future.

Peter, musk has been playing a bigger role in washington, sort of flexing his muscles.

How do you see this playing out?

Well, it was interesting just to see in the performance at the press conference today, first of all, we had all of this mystery around the press conference, be there at 1:00 at the national press club where there was an announcement.

We didn't know what he was talking about.

He started first of all about the success of the reusable rocket, the safe landing in the ocean.

A lot of us were waiting to hear the real news.

We were sort of aware of that.

He dropped in passing the notion of the lawsuit and this competition, it shows you that he is still learning the way of washington, still trying to flex his muscles in washington.

He is a very popular figure given the success of tesla, given the promise of competition.

Take a listen to what he had to say on the issue of competition.

This is going to ring true to a lot of members of congress.

Take a listen.

This is not spacex protesting and saying that these launches should be awarded to us.

We're protesting to say these launches could be competed.

If we compete and lose, that's fine.

The issue that he is giving taxpayers a better bang for their buck, that will resonate here in washington.

It was an awkward performance.

He is taking on lockheed and boeing, two giants, he better be ready for a fight.

These are power players in washington that are ready to

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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