For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. ~Richard P. Feynman
When last I wrote, I offered that the crew at SpaceX had clinched the 2007 Award for Outstanding Achievements in Hubris for declaring their most recent failure as a success.
It turns out that now that they have earned it with an oakleaf cluster.
They have now announced that, despite the fact that they have yet to actually reach any planned altitude, Falcon 1 is now "operational."
This is an unusual definition of "operational."
Oh, SpaceX tells us that this sort of thing is done all the time, citing the Delta IV Heavy as an example. Perhaps, but Delta IV's failure was a premature shutdown, not a twirling rocket where the first stage whacked the nozzle of the second on separation. Falcon 1 was not in good control on the way up, which is not a good sign.
Of course, these private-enterprise folks are fine with the possibility of losing a payload because it's only a government satellite. After $278 million of our money, what's another few mil for a wrecked taxpayer-funded payload?
I wonder how sanguine a commercial satellite owner would be about using a "sort-of" operational device?