A fair few of Silicon Valley's old money characters have gone into space research. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Microsoft's Paul Allen and Google's Sergey Brin have all ploughed millions into getting into orbit. Sleuth either puts this down to the well-proven link between the technical community and science fiction or, in paranoid moments, the idea that maybe they know something we don't.
Musk is clearly low-balling expectations on this one, saying the flight has a 70-80 per cent chance of success. With plenty of failed attempts already under his belt it's getting important for the company to manage expectations. The rocket's only carrying a dummy payload and so it's not the end of the world if it fails, but that's still a lot of money sitting out on the pad.
"Remember that scene from 'The Deer Hunter?' " Musk asked with a chuckle during a telephone news conference Reuters reports.
"That's tomorrow, but not quite as likely at success."
SpaceX is in a different business to Virgin Galactic, which is more focused on low orbit jaunts for the wealthy with strong stomachs. SpaceX is bidding for valuable Nasa contracts now that the government has scaled back its ambitions to get into space and while these won't bring the profits of ecommerce there is still money to be made.
The last ten years have seen the biggest shift in the space industry since its inception. However the tech money is finding there are major problems with flaws in rocketry that go beyond the worst system crash scenario. Rebooting a system is easy, rockets are a little more complicated.
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