On February 6, a private company, Space X, successfully launched the Falcon Heavy from Cape Canaveral, Florida: from the very same pad where government moon-flights had once begun their journeys.
SpaceX has pioneered in the development of re-usable space technology. Two of the three booster rockets returned successfully to the company’s landing zones. The third, central, rocket, alas, missed its planned rendezvous with a drone ship.
The payload is a Tesla Roadster, with a mannequin ‘driver,’ which is now on its way to a stable orbit around the sun, between the planets Mars and Jupiter.
The Thing to Know:
Once considered a matter in which national governments had to play the leading role (and as a quasi-military arena of competition among such governments) space travel and exploration is now largely privatized. It may be that when a permanent moon (or Mars) base comes into existence, a private company will own it.