NCC1701Cadet: Continually ambitious, Space X has a plan. A plan with a long term goal, and a strategy to get there. Success, or even rate of success in human space flight remain to be seen. Landing their recoverable Falcon 9 first stage on a (pitching, rolling, heaving) floating barge after an upcoming launch as part of its continued testing is certainly a risk NASA would be unlikely to take. Even Elon expects success there to be unlikely. Ultimately, they will have to prove to the Eastern Test Range, and the FAA, that landing a powered booster stage back near the launch site to be safe to property and for the public. But they have come a long way for sure. It will surely take longer than they plan, but then, they do have a plan, and one that does not change simply at the whim of the politicians.
Article and photo credit: nasaspaceflight.com – Chris Bergin – July 28, 2014