On May 27, two American astronauts, Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley, are planning to launch from the Kennedy Space Center on a mission to the International Space Station. If successful, this will mark the first time in nine years that American astronauts will launch into space from American soil. What’s even more arresting is they will not be launched by NASA but by a clandestine company, SpaceX.

Human spaceflight is abundantly difficult and expensive; the rockets must be reliable and the agent must be built with big-ticket life abutment systems and a assertive level of redundancy. To date, only three countries – Russia, the United States and China – have accomplished this feat.

As a space policy expert, I find it hard to enlarge the acceptation for both SpaceX and spaceflight in general. For SpaceX, it’s addition step on their road to Mars, but more generally, it demonstrates that spaceflight need not be aloof for only the most able of states.