15 July 2015 News

ULA Atlas V blasts off from Cape Canaveral with GPS IIF-10 – and shows how SpaceX needs a longer track record

The first launch from Cape Canaveral since the recent SpaceX launch failure has gone off without a hitch.

This is the 55th successful launch for ULA’s Atlas V rocket. The GPS IIF-10 satellite it carries is a new addition to the U.S. military’s Global Positioning System.

Perhaps most importantly, today’s Atlas V launch shows that when it comes to dealing a risk-averse industry, a lenghty track record is important.

SpaceX has enjoyed dizzying success with its aggressive pricing politics – but as a relative newcomer on the scene, it currently needs to boost its track record, particularly if it wants to revive manned spaceflight.

As previously reported, SpaceX’s new track record is 18 for 19. This may look good enough as far as unmanned missions are concerned, but until SpaceX carries out 10 more successful launches, it means that sending a human crew up on one of its rockets will likely appear too risky.

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