Space travel is notoriously expensive. It’s so expensive that for many years no private companies would even consider trying to put a space program together, there was just no money to be made. Only recently have companies like SpaceX come to the forefront and take over got government agencies. Now that private companies are involved you can be sure that there are engineers working round the clock trying to figure out ways to improve the bottom-line.
The big glaring issue with space travel has always been that rockets are essentially single use devices. Each rocket launch leaves behind tons and tons of waste which simply fall off the rocket during the various stages of lift off, once they’re no longer needed. That’s literally hundreds of millions of dollars that cannot be recouped for every launch. To put this into perspective, imagine needing to buy a new car every morning to get to work. It’s obviously much cheaper to use the same car back and forth everyday than buying a new car daily. This is essentially the problem that space agencies face.
The solution to cost effective space travel is therefore very simple, yet extremely difficult to realize. Build a reusable rocket. This is exactly what SpaceX is aiming to do and Elon Musk tweeted an image of their progress today. The prototype calls for 4 wings around the rocket that each have a grid design. The “X-wings” as they’re being called can move and rotate which would allow us to control the rocket during its descent. The wings are also designed to collapse inwards rendering the rocket aerodynamic for its primary mission, reaching space. They’ve also been working on an autonomous spaceport ships which are placed in water and would be the designated landing spot for any rockets, so as to avoid casualties in the event the worst were to happen. If SpaceX manages to create a reusable rocket it will absolutely revolutionize space travel going forward.
Elon Musk’s Twitter account