Try, try and try again. We’ve just seen a spacecraft do the impossible, the first BIG step for man into space travel and smaller steps towards colonising Mars – Elon Musk’s long-term mission through SpaceX. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Falcon 9 has just made huge advancements in reusable rockets.
Let’s now talk about what SpaceX is all about. One of many of Elon Musk’s brainchilds, Space X is a private space company and they’ve done some amazing things – launching the Falcon 1 in 2008 being one of them, leading to NASA handing them a contract worth US$ 1.6 billion.
Fast-track through their history, the space capable delivery service (yes, we said it) has delivered 15 deliveries, some for NASA, and some for satellite missions. Though 6 months ago, SpaceX received a rude awakening, after 20 successful stints, the predecessor of the Falcon 9 blew up on the way up.
So what did they do today that is such a big deal?
They launched a rocket, went into orbit, released 11 satellites, floated sideways (in orbit), re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and made a successful propulsion based landing. It’s a big deal because once someone does (did) this, it translates to a major breakthrough for the aerospace industry. A mode of transportation that can be reused, over multiple occasions for travel but through space! Making future travel into space a whole lot cheaper.
This was the game-plan that the company laid out for the successful launch today:
SpaceX just did something that was never done before by country-backed space programs – NASA, China and Russia included. These programs have spent an unimaginable amount of money to propel the human frontier into space and it has been more about showing who has the biggest “package” so to speak rather than bringing people to other planets.
Successfully launching the Falcon 9 today, the company will continuously innovate their technology, eventually making the overall cost of space travel a lot cheaper in the long-run. Well I guess Musk’s mission of colonising Mars just got a lot more realistic.
Long exposure of launch, re-entry, and landing burns pic.twitter.com/Vw1ZJAtvhy
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 22, 2015
Putting this scene in a much smaller scale:
“This is hard. If you scale down all the sizes, it’s like firing a pencil over the top of a skyscraper and trying to land it on a shoe box on the ground—on a windy day. SpaceX likens the challenge of controlling the descent through the atmosphere to “trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a wind storm.” Popular Mechanics calls it “a tense juggling act, where any one of thousands of moving parts can push the entire system into mayhem. If the rocket does land softly on the barge, it’s because millions of insanely detailed self-adjustments have kept the Falcon 9’s composure as it dove through chaos.”
Looking forward, SpaceX will hope to allow people to buy a ticket to Mars for only US$ 500,000 – an anthill compared to the figure estimated by NASA back in 2004, US$ 10 billion per person. Their next step is making the Mars Colonial Transporter a reality, a spaceship that will hold at least 100 people.
Musk hopes that by 2070, a high-tech metropolis will exist…. on Mars and we hope that it becomes a reality.
“I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact”
Watch the whole spectacle here: