By Robert Zubrin
The Weekly Standard, 02.16.18
On February 6, 2018, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy took flight, demonstrating a capacity to lift 60 tons to low Earth orbit while playfully sending a Tesla Roadster on a trajectory that will take it beyond the orbit of Mars. To add to the coup, two of the Falcon’s three booster stages flew back to land gracefully together at the Cape, while the third barely missed pulling off a recovery landing on a drone ship stationed downrange.
To understand how extraordinary this accomplishment was, let us recall that in 2009, the Obama administration’s blue-ribbon review committee headed former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine declared that NASA's Moon program had to be cancelled, because the development of the necessary heavy lift booster would take 12 years and 36 billion dollars.
SpaceX has now done that, in half the time and at a thirtieth of the cost. And, to cap it all, the launch vehicle is three quarters reusable.
This is a revolution. The naysayers have been completely refuted.
The Moon is now within reach. Mars is now within reach.
Some may object that the Falcon Heavy, while delivering double to triple the payload to orbit ...