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A Big Bang, Another Chapter in Exploration 
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image: techcrunch.com

 
You’ve probably heard about the SpaceX rocket explosion on September 1 – it was a pretty big deal. The whole rocket, and its Israeli-made communication satellite for a South African Internet company, went favoosh on the launch pad. The rocket simple disintegrated under an enormous fireball as it sat on the launch pad. Instant space toast. 

The explosion, if you get a chance to watch the video, is breathtaking – that thing simply blows apart. The video makes the rocket’s destruction seem like a colossal failure. How could a company survive such a terrible tragedy? 
 
The folks at SpaceX have had a few grand explosions like this, but they have had some enormous successes, too. Way more successes, in fact, than failures like this. They have NASA contracts to carry payloads to and from the International Space Station. They have commercial contracts to carry satellites and other useful payloads into orbit. This is a setback for SpaceX, but not the end of their world. 
  
The reality of the explosion is a lot different from the smoke and flames we see. The reality isn’t a horrific, terrible ruination of the company. The reality is that they lost a rocket and its payload, and damaged the launch pad. SpaceX, like other space explorers, are used to dealing with calamities like this. 
 
So, although at first blush, the failure seems enormous in the glare of the fireball, the reality is a lot different.

Hmmm. Is there something you and I can take away from this? 
 
Once I set fire to my car by accident. Oy, that was the end of the world! There wasn’t any water around, so I shoveled dirt all over my running, burning engine to put it out. The fire went out. I replaced the burned wires, and drove that darned thing for several more years.  
 
I’ve had some horrific fights with people, heard things that were unspeakably the end of the road. How dare you say that? How could you? Now I can’t remember what those arguments were about.  
 
Once I had a Chinese language final – it was the worst. I stayed up all night cramming, swilling hot chocolate to keep awake. I had to drag myself to class the next morning, and totally, totally bombed the test because I was so sick from drinking all that hot chocolate.  
 
Enormous things happen, but we get along. We abide. 
 
SpaceX is exploring the final frontier. Their rocket blew up. But they know they’ll be back out there just as soon as they figure out what went wrong and fix it. 
 
Like their exploration into commercial spaceflight, maybe their also teaching you and me how to perservere - how to abide. That's a huge exploration!  
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