While SpaceX has not yet announced or perhaps even discovered why a Falcon 9 launch vehicle was destroyed, along with an Israeli communications satellite and the launch pad, that company’s president, Gwynne Shotwell expressed confidence that the next flight will occur in November. Shotwell made this pronouncement at a satellite industry conference in Paris, according to NBC News.

Along with a previous flight failure, the mysterious combustion that took place on September 1 has caused a huge backlog in SpaceX’s launch manifest.

While the company has achieved considerable success in recovering the Falcon 9 first stage, it has not yet been able to demonstrate that it is capable of conducting cheap and reliable Space launch operations. It must not only be able to turn around and reuse those recovered first stages, but they must launch again and again, on a reliable schedule, and do so successfully.

If SpaceX falters, it has some competitors who would be more than happy to take up the slack.

United Launch Alliance is developing a partially reusable launch vehicle called the Vulcan. Blue Origin just announced the development of the New Glenn, a heavy lift rocket that is said to be capable of not only launching payloads into orbit but also on deep space missions. That company’s CEO Jeff Bezos seems keen on not only competing for conventional Earth orbit markets but also developing markets for beyond, such as space mining operations.

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Even so, SpaceX’s customers have, for the time being, expressed confidence in the company’s ability to bounce back from the catastrophe. If SpaceX can find out what destroyed its rocket and return to flight in a reasonable time, the disaster will be seen as just a bump on the road to cheap access to space.

On the other hand, Tory Bruno, chief executive of United Launch Alliance, has predicted that SpaceX will take nine months to a year to recover from the disaster.

Bruno may be throwing some shade on a competitor, but if he is right that delay could prove devastating to SpaceX, redounding to ULA’s benefit as it steps in to fill the gap.

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