The above expression refers to rockets that are still on the design tables, in blue prints only.
Oftentimes it also means rockets that haven’t flown yet.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is no longer in that category. At 2:45 p.m. Friday afternoon it lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Launch Facility riding a bright orange, liquid oxygen and kerosene powered plume into orbit, reminiscent of the old Saturn rocket launches.
Successful first time launches of new rockets are rare, only 50% generally make it. SpaceX’s team hit a home run, or a hole in one if you prefer.
The success was a feather in the cap for Elon Musk , and most importantly for President Obama’s new path for NASA, which involves commercial/contractor companies like Musk’s to provide supplies to the International Space Station at reduced cost.
There’s no doubt a new era in space travel opened yesterday, make no bones about it.
The Industrial Revolution of Space has begun.
Falcon 9 Launch