One of the highlights of Bryan's recent visit to California was the opportunity of a private tour at the SpaceX complex, accompanied by 1990 SMC leaver David Finaly.
David is now a Senior Executive at SpaceX and works closely with Elon Musk as he develops a range of both commercial and highly experimental rockets.
Bryan reports that it was amazing to have a close-up view of some of the most advanced space technology on Earth, much of it confidential - and remaining so after Bryan's visit, given that he happily confessed that he did not understand any of the technology that was explained to him! No photography was allowed except of the first SpaceX rocket which landed successfully after its launch and flight.
The Falcon 9 Full Thrust completed its maiden flight on 22 December 2015, carrying an Orbcomm 11-satellite payload to orbit and landing the rocket's first stage intact at SpaceX's Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral. This ‘first stage’ is a historic object and was retired by SpaceX at its Hawthorne, California headquarters, where Bryan was able to admire it in all its glory.