Idaho’s SpaceX Connection
This Saturday at 1:22 pm, SpaceX and NASA will attempt to send two astronauts into space. It will be the first time that NASA has sent anyone into space since the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched on July 8, 2011. This will also be the first time that a private company has carried NASA Astronauts into space. The cool looking "Dragon" is a new reusable spacecraft that will eventually be taking private citizens to space. According to their website, the Dragon can carry seven people to the space station. There's also room to bring stuff back to earth from space, which will come in handy for all the souvenirs that you might buy up there someday.
The entire world will be watching the launch on Saturday afternoon. Elon Musk, the guy famous for PayPal and Tesla, is also the President of SpaceX and will get a lot of credit if things go well. Still, the real credit may need to go to a guy from our very own state of Idaho.
Tom Mueller is a SpaceX founding employee and is arguably the world's best spacecraft propulsion engineer. He grew up in St. Maries, Idaho. His high school math teacher destroyed his plan to be an airplane mechanic with one question: "Do you want to be the one fixing those airplanes or the on designing them?" That teacher helped him get into the engineering program at the University of Idaho, where he graduated in 1985. After getting his Masters at Layola Marymount, he started a career as a rocket scientist. He was the person behind the Dragon's propulsion system, and without him, Saturday's launch may not be possible. Last year, Elon Musk remarked on Twitter that Tom his work was "critical to SpaceX's success."
As you watch the launch on Saturday afternoon, you can take pride in knowing that Idaho has a hand in the historic flight.