SpaceX’s Space Technology
By Clare S.
Will SpaceX’s spacecraft improvements lead us to the moon, mars, or into another space race? All three may become a reality in the coming years.
Space X, a private company founded by Elon Musk in 2002, has their eyes set on continued space exploration and never-before-created reusable rockets. According to their website, “SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded to revolutionize space technology with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”
SpaceX first became known after successfully re-entering a spacecraft to Earth from low-Earth orbit in 2010, becoming the first private company to do so.
In 2012, SpaceX used their Dragon spacecraft to visit the international space station, an unprecedented feat for private companies.
Through their Grasshopper Program, SpaceX successfully hovered and landed a spacecraft in 2013.
They continue their spacecraft testing with astronomical improvements, including many successful cargo trips to the space station.
In 2014, NASA awarded SpaceX a $2.6B contract to fly American astronauts into space. So far, they have not flown anyone into space, but SpaceX hopes to send two private citizens into space and around the moon by late 2018. But Elon Musk’s ambitions do not end there. He wants to fly humans to Mars by 2025 and then colonize it, a step to having humans become “multi-planetary.”
A barrier to a “multi-planetary” lifestyle is the cost; the expensive rockets are only used once. SpaceX wants to lower the expense of space travel by reusing rockets like the way commercial airlines are reused. Their first step is to reuse their Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled for the week of March 27, 2017.
Once launch costs are lowered, many competitors like Boeing, Orbital Sciences, and Blue Origin will have the chance to become more involved. As space travel is constantly improved, the aerospace industry may become as competitive and influential as the electronics industry. The United States may soon be in for another space race, one that will be among companies and only take us up.