I predict that regardless of the outcome of SpaceX’s inaugural Falcon 9 launch, nobody is going to change their opinion. If it’s successful, Ares-huggers will suddenly begin to understand the concept that a single successful flight doesn’t prove anything about a vehicle’s overall reliability (while most on the pro-commercial space guys will start sounding like NASA guys post Ares-IX).
If it fails, commercial space people will switch back to “it was only a test” mode while to Ares-huggers, it will prove, prove, prove that all commercial vehicles (including those with existing proven track records) are all death traps. After all, imagine the national security risk of flying our astronauts on private launch vehicles! I mean, if we’re going to turn LEO crew transportation over to the private sector, we might as well all start learning Chinese and reading the little Red Book, cause them Commies are going to come and sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.
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