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The research was free as well. We watched the whole thing streamed yesterday.


Since they always lose the investment in the first stage they started trying to recover it to floating sea platforms for their initial testing. They crashed a few but the missions were paid for and their research did not cost for the launch. I've posted their limited height successful attempt here two and a half years ago: http://www.geeksaresexy.net/2013/07/06/spacex-grasshoper-rocket-takes-off-rises-1066-feet-and-lands-video/ which was similar to the Blue Origins flight last month of a much smaller booster, still significant, but not a recovery in the space travel size of vehicle: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/blue-origin-successfully-flies-and-lands-new-shepard/


Here is a short 1:35 video of just yesterday's landing: http://www.timesofisrael.com/spacex-rocket-landing-opens-new-door-to-space-travel/



The ULA (United Launch Alliance) still depends on Russian Rockets in inventory and Space X continues to be the only American company capable of launching space and Mars payloads using its own American made rockets not subject to Putin's. Orbital science just used a Russian rocket to make it first successful flight after their explosion.


Let me reiterate that by the time Musk announces he is going to do something he already has the science proven and ready for R&D of actual vehicles in space and on the ground. His think create the prototype in his head then execute has not changed since he began with the PayPal crew. Everyone thinks he is hype and forgets that he does not pay for advertising and rarely does press conferences just makes his own announcements once they have completed a project they announced previously.


Some folks are upset that he upset the status quo, in space, and in motive power on the ground.


If you are truly interested in cheap gigbit Internet and busting the cable monopoly then get ready. He's about to disrupt his fourth industry as he has already disrupted Cars, Solar/battery storage, Space. What is the fourth big disruption? LEO satellite constellations of small satellites remarkable similar to the ones he launched, and how he launched them yesterday for another company that just happens to be the one that hired them for the first Space X launches when no one else would. He and Google have already contemplated a world encircling LEO satellite Internet and cell phone satellite fleet. So again he gets free R&D by developing the satellite deployment system for another company at their expense. BTW, because of his financial interest in making this happen he has contracted to do two launch and deployments for less than the cost of one for any other mission payload. LEO cell and Internet has close to the same latency as the current land based system, as opposed to GEO orbits with their terrible latency for action games and voice. Makes cell towers obsolete. Makes ground lines for Internet's last mile obsolete. Today is no reflection of the markets of tomorrow.


I've already posted here about the small satellite LEO grid planned in the last year as plans were announced in development of the LEO Cell/Internet satellite grid. When dealing with Musk, R&D means pre-production. Just click on this article from January of this year before you go watch the release of multiple satellites from their pods in yesterdays mission video: http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/satellites/spacex-raises-1-billion-from-google-fidelity-for-satellite-internet-project


Now the ULA has started advertising their Mars capable capsule, and doing Boeing ads too, about it with artist's renderings and cartoon animations. Can you say vaporware? Space X unveiled their mockup two years ago. Most folks don't seem to know that even before Telsa Musk had the goal of colonizing Mars. That mission is in development. Has been for ten years now one step and rocket launch at a time.


On edit: For those who can, go here, and watch the 45 minute video. You can skip ahead to the actual satellite deployment. Quite different than NASA and the shuttles used to do. They can put large numbers in orbit on each launch of the mini sats if you will: http://www.spacex.com/webcast/?platform=hootsuite

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