Our real life Tony Stark, Elon Musk has done it again. His privately owned space exploration and transportation company, SpaceX has been aiming to build a reusable rocket since it’s inception. Their masterpiece is the Falcon 9 spacecraft. Before we go into why this is important, let us see what exactly the SpaceX Falcon 9 did yesterday.
One of the major type of missions undertaken is taking astronauts to space and back, and we need Space shuttles for that. And to launch Space shuttles into space, or even satellites, a launch rocket is needed that can achieve sufficient vertical thrust to reach outer space and once it is there, it requires sufficient horizontal thrust to set a satellite into orbit.
It was only last month that Jeff Bezos joined twitter to announce that Blue Origin, founded by him, had successfully landed it’s first reusable rocket New Shepard. Immediately, we saw a reply from Elon Musk congratulating Bezos, followed by another tweet which carefully explained the difference in capabilities of the two. Falcon 9 can basically go twice the height that New Shepard can, and achieve thrice the velocity, which incidentally happens to be a criterion to set anything into outer space orbit around the earth.
Yesterday, Falcon 9 launched 11 satellites and successfully landed onto a launchpad based on solid ground, instead of the sea launchpads from it’s earlier two failed attempts. Right now, an entirely new rocket needs to be made for each launch. The Falcon 9 costs about 16 Million USD to make and only 200,000$ to refuel. Falcon 9 might just have made space travel a lot more affordable than it has ever been by saving the 16 million making cost each time it is reused. Hence it is no surprise that SpaceX has already received multiple orders for the Launch Rocket.
This healthy competition between private space entrepreneurs can only mean something good for all of us. For once, aerospace manufacturers will be made to focus on reusability and recycling. They will be, even if forced to, focused on saving money along with helping the environment. The amount of rocket fuel consumed in each launch, along with the cost of the rocket involved, could go on in a significant way to any and every imaginable source in need.