September 2, 2016

Perseverence Through Failure Brings Success in Space Exploration

Perseverance Past Failures to the Goal
Failure in space exploration is always difficult. It's incredibly expensive, can cost years of delays, is demoralizing to the public and to all involved, and is tragic when astronauts are lost.

But just as with airplane and auto crashes, we must understand the risks and be prepared for them. SpaceX will of course persevere and learn through their loss just as did Orbital, and get back on track, though lost time cannot be made up.

As we prepare to return to manned space missions on American rockets, and hopefully sooner rather than later, build bases on the Moon and Mars, there will be accidents, setbacks and even tragic deaths. The wrong thing to do is give up. The right thing to do is to go forth again with renewed determination.

It's been this way throughout history, and the ancient explorers we remember are those who pushed through failures to the finish line.

One recipe for failure is to build just one of something. Had we only had one Apollo capsule or one space shuttle when Apollo 1, Challenger or Columbia were lost, it is possible national will and bean counters could have kept us from continuing. Thankfully we built many and persevered.

Lunar and Martian exploration must be treated the same:

Expect terrible failures and many smaller losses, and always have more spacecraft and habitats in the works. Prepare the public to expect occasional losses and that we must persevere in such eventualities. And honor those who sacrificed their lives by redoubling our efforts and achieving star-high goals.

Godspeed to SpaceX in getting back to launching--and reusing--rockets and dreams.

Read the latest official updates from SpaceX.