SpaceX and Race of Space Exploration
90s kids must have that image of cartoons in their minds of a rocket lending back the same way it was launched. However, we never thought that we could see that in reality, at least not in our life time. Elon Musk, a South African entrepreneur based in US, had other plans. He did what we thought of as an impossible task initially. His company named as SpaceX, built a reusable rocket. Found in 2002, SpaceX struggled initially with three failed missions. In the end, they got succeeded in landing of rocket both on land and on ship as well.
The idea behind reusable rocket is to decrease the cost of repeated launchs by using the same launching engines. According to the company’s President, these reusable rockets will help reduce the space missions’ cost by more than 30%. The magnitude of amount that will be saved is huge. To give an estimate of the money involved, NASA has currently invested 23 Billion US dollars in its mission for Mars. And they are not finished yet. Rather, it is expected that the same mission will require more than 200 Billion dollars to achieve its intended targets.
SpaceX with the success of its reusable rockets and launch of Falcon-9 and Falcon Heavy is clearly leading the race of intended space exploration. It has projects worth more than 10 Billion Dollars in its pocket right now for various organizations. So what makes SpaceX so different despite of having so many competitors? The reason behind its popularity is its ability to carry heavy payloads in very economical costs. Falcon 9, a very large 229 feet rocket costs around 60 million dollars for its launch with pay load capacity of twice of its competitors.
SpaceX is not just involved in providing a launching facilities to organizations like NASA and other military and research organizations. Rather, its CEO Elon Musk has shared his ambitions of Mission Mars. The South African entrepreneur wants to build a settlement of human race on Mars. For this, he is planning to start commercial flights for the red planet. Not just that, SpaceX is also working on its most gigantic and heavy rocket named as Big Falcon Rocket which will be launched in 2022. That rocket as claimed by SpaceX, will replace all of the current rockets that it has developed thus far.
With the development of reusable rockets, the race of space exploration has taken a new path. Space X might be the leading name in the list. However, many other organizations have also started taking part in this competition. Blue Origin is the most prominent name that comes in the mind, which was developed by Jeff Bezos of Amazon. This company is also working on space exploration. China which is an emerging economy, is also working on its space industry. It is currently working on its expandable space station. Experts believe that in future, China could prove to be very dangerous for its competitors. They are of the view that Chinese Space Program will be very economical in future which will simply put others out in the cold. The surprising name in this list is the Indian Space Agency which has proven to be the most economical.
Space programs are not limited to exploration of different planets. Rather, many companies are built to launch payloads weighing around that of small satellites. VirginOrbit and Stratolaunch systems are two of such companies. They use a launching plane which carry rocket at certain height and then launches from there. These companies launch small rockets which carry nano or micro satellites to orbit around the earth. Both military as well as research organizations are their customers.