SpaceX shoots to the forefront of aerospace

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John Joy

 

By Jeremiah May 17′

Some of you may have heard the names Space X and Elon Musk coming up a lot in recent news. The South African billionaire Musk, also owner of Tesla and co-founder of PayPal, has made a great deal of progress with his private aerospace company ‒ SpaceX, but if you’re not obsessed with space and the aerospace industry, you might not understand why any of it is important. SpaceX made history when its Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched, deployed its cargo, and landed itself. That doesn’t seem that impressive, but most rockets do not land after being launched. Modern rockets basically fall apart as they ascend. Fuel tanks and boosters fall into the ocean where they cannot always be recovered or recovered intact. This all sounds meaningless but what it means is that with the development of this new technology, SpaceX has slashed the price of a launch from the hefty 60 million price tag of a new rocket to a mere 200,000 in refueling. This is all big news in an industry which is barely emerging out from the control of governments and into the private sector. Space related industry has grossed upwards of 100 billion in recent years and is expected to keep growing as manned missions to Mars and asteroid mining (yeah that’s a real thing) become feasible. SpaceX is also expected to do a majority of the resupply missions to the International Space Station in the upcoming years, as NASA’s funding continues to shrink. Whereas NASA used to be at the forefront of industry development, today it is shifting to a coordinating and regulatory nature. SpaceX went on to make history again when it landed its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship. The process took five attempts. Several times the rocket fell at the last moment, resulting in some spectacular explosions. The video of the landing is quite impressive but don’t worry, you can find videos of the near failures as well. All in all the company is expected to be remain as one of the leaders in space exploration in coming years, and their recent successes mark a turning point for an industry that has been sidelined for almost fifty years. With satellites and other space industries fast becoming integrated into the rest of the world economy, expect to hear more from Musk and his company in the years to come.

 

Picture from:

http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/2_liftoff_of_upgraded_falcon_9.jpg