The failure of spacecraft Falcon 1 to launch this weekend wasn't just a blow to the dream of privately-funded space travel - it was also the universe's ironic commentary on the infamous abilities of Canada's most famous space-faring Scot. What links Star Trek's Scotty with the future of our corporate destiny in the stars? We'll tell you under the jump.Saturday's failure to launch was the third upset in a row for SpaceX, the company founded in 2002 by PayPal creator Elon Musk, but probably the greatest; the first two attempts to put Falcon 1 into space had, at least, gotten off the launchpad. But it's not only Musk who felt the harsh sting of disappointment this time around; on board the ship were two NASA satellites as well as one for the US Department of Defense, all waiting to be put into orbit. More importantly, the craft also contained the ashes of 208 individuals awaiting their ultimate fate in the vast unknown of outer space, one of whom happened to be James Doohan, the original Scotty from Star Trek (another was astronaut Gordon Cooper). Their place on Falcon 1 had been provided by Celestis, a company that will make sure that you, too, can go to your final resting place by rocket power, no matter where that final resting place may be: The website for Celestis offers this statement for those whose loved ones didn't make it to their final destination:
It was obviously a big disappointment not to reach orbit on this flight [Falcon 1, Flight 3]. On the plus side, the flight of our first stage, with the new Merlin 1C engine that will be used in Falcon 9, was picture perfect. Unfortunately, a problem occurred with stage separation, causing the stages to be held together. This is under investigation and I will send out a note as soon as we understand exactly what happened. The most important message I'd like to send right now is that SpaceX will not skip a beat in execution going forward. We have flight four of Falcon 1 almost ready for flight and flight five right behind that. I have also given the go ahead to begin fabrication of flight six. Falcon 9 development will also continue unabated, taking into account the lessons learned with Falcon 1. We have made great progress this past week with the successful nine engine firing. As a precautionary measure to guard against the possibility of flight 3 not reaching orbit, SpaceX recently accepted a significant investment. Combined with our existing cash reserves, that ensures we will have more than sufficient funding on hand to continue launching Falcon 1 and develop Falcon 9 and Dragon. There should be absolutely zero question that SpaceX will prevail in reaching orbit and demonstrating reliable space transport. For my part, I will never give up and I mean never. Thanks for your hard work and now on to flight four.
Sadly missing from the statement is any reference to the fact that, apparently, the mere presence of the Enterprise's fabled miracle worker wasn't enough for a last-minute save on the day itself. Launch of Private Rocket Fails; Three Satellites Were Onboard [NYT] (Via)