Recently I’ve re-discovered my excitement to space exploration. It was lost somewhere between passion to internet, mobile apps and startups. But it was still there. Thanks God, because we are living in really interesting times for space exploration.
Long story short: private companies are pushing development of space exploration technologies, something that was reserved till the end of XX century only for countries like US, Russia, Japan, China and European Space Agency.
One of the private companies is really exceptional. It’s called SpaceX and recently it was able to do something amazing and historical: land first stage of their rocket Falcon 9 vertically. Why it is such a big deal? Well, in science fiction books and movies we’ve been doing that for a long time, but… In real life – never. Currently we are still trowing away whole rocket (1st and 2nd stage) after launching a satellite. To be exact – we are burning them in the atmosphere.
Founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, believes that rocket reusability is the key to lowering prices of rocket launches. It costs SpaceX to make a Falcon 9 rocket and launch it around $61.2M, but the cost of the fuel it’s only $200k. How much travel from London to New York would cost, if you had to destroy the plane afterwards? A lot! That how it is right now with space travel and rockets. Super expensive.
Failure and success
SpaceX dared to change that status quo. But it is not that easy. They tried to land the rocket on a Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship twice, and twice they were quite epic failures:
But then, on December 22 2015 happened this: