NASA Administrator's Statement on First Falcon 9 Launch
"Congratulations to Space X on today's launch of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Space X's accomplishment is an important milestone in the commercial transportation effort and puts the company a step closer to providing cargo services to the International Space Station. "Preparations are proceeding for the first NASA-sponsored test launch under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services project later this year. COTS is a vital development and demonstration partnership to create a commercial space transportation system capable of providing cargo to the station. "This launch of the Falcon 9 gives us even more confidence that a resupply vehicle will be available after the space shuttle fleet is retired."
Kosmas Statement on SpaceX Falcon 9 Test Launch
"But we must both support the emerging commercial space industry and ensure a robust, NASA-led human spaceflight program in order to maintain our international leadership in space and keep our economy strong. I will continue fighting at every opportunity to minimize the human spaceflight gap, protect jobs, and ensure a bright future for the Space Coast."
Space Industry Leaders and Astronauts Congratulate SpaceX on Historic Flight of Falcon 9 Vehicle, CSF
"Space industry leaders, astronauts, and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation are issuing the following statements following today's launch of the Falcon 9 vehicle: ... "
Hutchison Statement on SpaceX Test Flight
"This first successful test flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is a belated sign that efforts to develop modest commercial space cargo capabilities are showing some promising signs. While this test flight was important, the program to demonstrate commercial cargo and crew transport capabilities, which I support, was intended to enhance not replace NASA's own proven abilities to deliver critical cargo and humans to low Earth orbit. Make no mistake, even this modest success is more than a year behind schedule, and the project deadlines of other private space companies continue to slip as well. This test does not change the fact that commercial space programs are not ready to close the gap in human spaceflight if the space shuttle is retired this year with no proven replacement capability and the Constellation program is simultaneously cancelled as the President proposes."
Falcon 9 launches successfully, Politico
"Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, whose state of Alabama is also a NASA stronghold, further decried the launch as a display merely replicating what "NASA accomplished in 1964." "Belated progress for one so-called commercial provider must not be confused with progress for our nation's human space flight program," Shelby said. "As a nation, we cannot place our future space flight on one fledgling company's definition of success."
Keith's note: This is hilarious. Ares 1-X was a suborbital mission with a fake second stage, a first stage motor different than the final one, and used borrowed avionics. Falcon 9 flew an operational vehicle first time out of the hanagr and put a payload into orbit at a small fraction of the cost that an Ares would require. Falcon 9 has a better chance of closing the gap than Ares 1 will. Apparently the good senator (her staff that is) are utterly unaware of the fact that Ares 1 will not achieve any of its milestones until after Falcon 9 has already done so. Yet we never hear anything from her about that, do we?
As for Sen Shelby's comments, It would seem that SpaceX is better equipped to do what "NASA accomplished in 1964" than the NASA of 2010 can accomplish - and do so faster - and more cheaply. Ares 1 would cost much more and be ready later than Falcon 9.