SpaceX is Proof that Tech can Change the World

February 20, 2017 - 2 minutes read

If there’s one thing app developers love, it’s seeing tech products shape humanity in a positive way. Oh yeah — and outer space. We really like outer space. Who doesn’t?

This was a big week for SpaceX and Elon Musk watchers, as the ground-breaking tech company landed the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Video footage of the landing was as breathtaking as the implications for the space race, as the private company is proving every day that tech matters — and can leapfrog the bureaucratic process of government-driven technology initiatives any day.

While it’s the rockets themselves and videos of incredible landings/dockings/lift-offs that get the public excited, the unsung hero here is software: and truth be told, some of the company’s biggest achievements have been in the ones and zeros that keep the machines moving. In an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, SpaceX software engineers described their job like this:

We work on everything from large-scale web applications to tiny embedded computing platforms. We build tech stacks on C#/MVC4/EF/MSSQL via REST to Javascript/Knockout/Handlebars/LESS, C++/Embedded Linux, Python, LabVIEW… which all together enables us to build, launch, and monitor stuff that goes to space.

Sending spaceships to earth orbit with JavaScript? Now we’re talking. (This can be hard to believe, for sure, for a young Miami iPhone app developer struggling to use JavaScript to launch a web app onto the Internet.)

At the same time as the landing, SpaceX also launched a “Dragon” spacecraft loaded with 5,000+ pounds of equipment and supplies for those aboard the International space Station. The launch notably made use of the same complex that launched the Apollo 11 mission back in the 60s.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX story is an important one for app developers worldwide because it embodies a familiar theme in tech: entrepreneur says they’ll accomplish something. Everyone around them says it’s impossible. They accomplish it anyway.

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