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Space Industry Leaders and Astronauts Congratulate SpaceX on Historic Flight of Falcon 9 Vehicle

Washington, D.C. – Space industry leaders, astronauts, and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation are issuing the following statements following the launch of the Falcon 9 vehicle to orbit:

Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation:

“Today is a historic day for SpaceX. The Falcon 9 rocket rising into the sky was carrying the hopes and dreams of the hundreds of engineers who worked on this new project. And I know that thousands of well-wishers across the country were cheering that rocket on. For a brand-new rocket to accomplish this much on its first mission is truly impressive, given the historical difficulties of first flights.”

Mark Sirangelo, Chairman of Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems and Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation:

“Congratulations to Elon Musk and everyone working at SpaceX. The broader commercial space community has received a fantastic piece of good news today.”

Russell “Rusty” Schweickart, former Apollo 9 astronaut:

“As a former Apollo astronaut, I think it’s safe to say that SpaceX and the other commercial developers embody the 21st century version of the Apollo frontier spirit. It’s enormously gratifying to see them succeed today.”

Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida:

“This is another giant leap forward on the path of commercial spaceflight. Florida’s aerospace workforce can take special pride that SpaceX’s launch happened right here at Cape Canaveral. This success means more jobs for Florida and Floridians, and this success also means a major new force in the evolution of a vibrant commercial space capability for the nation.”

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation:

“In President Barack Obama’s new plan for NASA, a new player has taken center stage – American capitalism and entrepreneurship – and today’s SpaceX launch strengthens my hope that commercial space companies will at long last remove the cost barrier that slows our exploration of the solar system.”

Eric Anderson, Chairman and CEO of Space Adventures:

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for SpaceX to succeed on the first try for Falcon 9. There’s a bright future ahead for the commercial spaceflight industry and today was a big day.”

Byron Lichtenberg, former Space Shuttle astronaut:

“I expect that there will be a lot more astronauts in the future because of today’s success. Lower cost launches means more flights, which means more astronauts. We’ve only had 500 astronauts in the history of the Space Age, but I hope to see thousands more in the decades to come.”

Robert T. Bigelow, Founder of Bigelow Aerospace:

“On behalf of myself and all of us at Bigelow Aerospace we would like to congratulate our friends at SpaceX on the unprecedented success of the inaugural Falcon 9 launch. Achieving orbit on its first attempt is a testament to the robust capabilities of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 specifically and commercial crew transportation in general. We look forward to the continued development of the Falcon 9 launcher and Dragon capsule.”

The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space advocacy organization by membership:

“With this success for the commercial spaceflight industry, the United States is better positioned to ramp up its ambitions for exploring the solar system. The proposal to refocus NASA’s human spaceflight program beyond low-Earth orbit now looks more achievable, as this flight demonstrated that commercial rockets may soon be ready to carry supplies and, we hope, astronauts to the International Space Station.”

Dr. Alan Stern, former NASA Associate Administrator for Science and now Associate Vice President at the Southwest Research Institute:

“Congratulations to SpaceX on this phenomenal achievement. Falcon 9 and other commercial rockets will allow America to more quickly supplant Russian rides to orbit for our astronauts, to encourage the development of space tourism and other businesses in low Earth orbit, and to more economically transport crew and cargo to orbit so that we can afford human exploration of new worlds within NASA’s budget.”

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information please visit or contact Executive Director John Gedmark at or at 202.349.1120.

Image credit: Ben Cooper/ Spaceflight Now