Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket created history last year when it became the first rocket to successfully land on the Earth’s surface after it was launched into space. This was the first time that a rocket had ever survived the process, after multiple failed attempts by Space X. Reusable rockets are expected to completely alter the future of space-flight and significantly reduce the costs associated with space exploration.
The reusable rocket booster cost a mere $60 million dollars to produce, far cheaper than NASA predicted it would be. Elon Musk’s vision is to reuse every component of a spacecraft which would significantly reduce the costs associated with space exploration and space travel. Truly reusing rockets will massively alter the economics of space travel. Currently, it costs about $10,000 to launch one pound of mass into Earth orbit. By reusing rocket boosters to begin with, Musk’s vision of reducing the cost of space travel is starting to take shape.
Consider a future in which humans have established bases on the Moon, Mars, and the various moons of Saturn and Jupiter. They will serve as launch pads for further exploration. With reusable rockets (and eventually entire spacecraft), the cost of travelling beyond our solar system will significantly reduce, placing fewer barriers on deep space exploration. Musk’s goal is to colonize Mars this century and eventually eliminate the dependence on Earth for spacecraft.
Commercial space-flight is currently too expensive for most space agencies in the world, never mind the common man. With reusable spacecraft, Musk and other entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos are envisioning a future where space-flight is affordable to everyone. Completely reusable spacecraft are vital to this vision. While this may be a couple of generations away, your grandchildren’s children could very well be able to easily afford to pay for a trip to space from their monthly income.