CLYDE TOMBAUGH SPENT much of his life peering at telescope data. He discovered Pluto in 1930, and he spent years poking around the outer solar system. But as the scientific community began to dream about launching a vehicle into the great beyond, he focused his gaze much closer to home.
A FEW YEARS ago, a company called Spaceflight had a wacky plan. The plan, in the words of CEO Curt Blake, was “Let’s buy a Falcon!” Not, like, the bird of prey. Like the big SpaceX rocket that, similar to its avian namesake, swoops back down to Earth once it’s done its job.