SpaceX to Develop Reusable Launch System for Cheap Spaceflight, Mars Settlement
September 30, 2011 12:22 PM
comment(s) - last by
Elon Musk with the Falcon 9
SpaceX founder Elon Musk hopes to send humans to Mars in 10 to 15 years
California-based space transport company
is looking to build a fully reusable orbital launch system that could make spaceflight more affordable, and eventually send people to Mars for permanent settlement.
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, has mapped out a way for the Falcon 9 rocket to deliver a Dragon spacecraft to orbit, then return to the launch site by touching down vertically under rocket power on landing gear. At the same time,
would make a supplies delivery to the International Space Station and return from orbit to make its own landing.
Achieving a reusable space transport has been difficult because of the engineering challenges associated with such a feat, but many have tried because a totally reusable rocket would cut the cost of spaceflight. Traditional rockets can only be used once, and a Falcon 9, for example, can cost about $50 million to $60 million.
Over the past year, Musk and his team at SpaceX managed to solve the complexities that have stumped many before and even made an animation of how the plan could work, which is a 90 percent accurate depiction. They now hope to make the reusable rocket system a reality.
"Now, we could fail -- I'm not saying we are certain of success here -- but we are to try to do it," said Musk. "And we have a design that on paper -- doing the calculations, doing the simulations -- it does work. Now, we need to make sure that those simulations and reality agree, because generally when they don't, reality wins."
According to Musk, a Falcon 9 can cost about $50 million to $60 million, but fuel and oxygen for one launch only costs $200,000. So if the rocket can be reused, he said, around 1,000 times, the capital cost of the rocket per launch would only be approximately $50,000.
"If it does work, it'll be pretty huge," said Musk.
As far as long-term goals go, Musk sees the reusable rockets carrying settlers to Mars in an effort to "make humanity a multiplanetary species" in the event that something disasterous should happen on Earth.
Musk went on to suggest that spending a quarter of a percent of an annual gross domestic product of $14 trillion (which would be $35 billion annually) on space development and a focus on Mars-related missions. This sort of budget could drop the cost of Mars travel to $500,000 per person, he said.
According to Musk,
sending humans to Mars
could take as much as 10 to 15 years, and estimates that if the human population is at 8 billion at that time, that a minimum of 8,000 people could afford to travel to Mars.
Before launching humans into space, SpaceX capsules must first meet the safety standards that the
now-retired NASA Space Shuttle program
had to meet. This includes a launch escape system, which SpaceX capsules currently do not have, but reportedly will in about two or three years.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
I wouldn't count on space tourism to Mars
10/2/2011 9:56:26 AM
The article says if we're 8 billion in 10-15 years, there would be at least 8000 people who could afford to go to Mars. I feel it would still take big balls to be willing to go there. Security issues and risks won't all be ironed out in 15 years. My balls would definitely be too small ;) and I wouldn't go unless it had been going on for a long time and had airplane proven track record of safety.
So I wouldn't count on Mars space tourism to finance their activities if only 8000 people on the planet can afford it, because many of them, used to the safety, luxury and comfort of the Earth, won't be interested at all. It's very interesting, but they can't rely on that business model yet.
"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
SpaceX Dragon Test Flight to ISS Scheduled for November 30
August 17, 2011, 12:07 PM
SpaceX Sets Sights on Launches, Dreams of Mars
July 16, 2011, 9:27 PM
Atlantis Blasts Off for NASA's Final Space Shuttle Mission
July 8, 2011, 11:29 AM
UPDATE: SpaceX Becomes First Private Company to Put Capsule in Orbit
December 8, 2010, 12:20 PM
Scientists Tap Hard Data on 15,500 Penises to Estimate Average Length
March 3, 2015, 11:22 PM
NASA's Ion-Powered Dawn Probe Nears Orbit Around Dwarf Waterworld Ceres
March 3, 2015, 2:37 PM
Australian Engineers Successfully Developed 3D-Printed Jet Engines
March 2, 2015, 11:08 AM
Smartphone STD Scanner Dongle Can Detect HIV in Just 15 Minutes
February 26, 2015, 11:04 AM
Bill Gates Plugs GMOs to Reduce Starvation in Africa
February 24, 2015, 10:12 PM
Cool Nature Video: Crazy Coconut Octopus Braves Dry Land to Capture Crab
February 24, 2015, 4:18 PM
Most Popular Articles
Google Steps up Snub of Adobe Flash, Auto-Converting Flash Ads to HTML5
February 25, 2015, 6:16 PM
FCC Bans Data Discrimination, Defies Comcast, Adopting Net Neutrality Regulation
February 26, 2015, 4:03 PM
Windows 10 Adds USB 3.1 for Dual-Role Peripherals, External Display Support
February 27, 2015, 11:39 AM
StarDock Unveils Start10 Start Menu Replacement for Windows 10
February 25, 2015, 11:24 AM
Google Preps Pixel 2 ChromeBook, New X Server Replacement "Freon"
February 24, 2015, 11:12 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information