SpaceX Is Changing the Modern Spaceflight Industry
SpaceX is changing the modern spaceflight industry by developing reusable and sustainable rockets, expanding their payload capacity, and exploring the possibilities of reusability for long-duration flights. They are pioneering new markets, solving problems they have not been able to solve before, and bringing commercial and national security-level customers on board as they begin to fill the gap left by NASA.
SpaceX’s rocket manufacturing and space operations are focusing on three areas: Small Orbital Vehicles (sorbets), which are low-orbit robotic probes that will travel to and through the surface of Mars; Medium Earth Orbits (METEOR), which fly between the Earth and the Moon; and Heavy Orbits (HOLO), which transport astronauts to places in between. Meteors are not designed to return to Earth and are therefore referred to as Return Vehicles. Although the boosters used in these rockets are recycled, the payload mass of the METEORs and the ability of the payload vehicle to deliver the needed payload mass is what makes them valuable in research efforts.
There are three parts to the rocket. The first part is the solid-fueled first stage of the rocket, which uses oxygen and methane and a propellant called RP-1. The second part is the liquid-fueled second stage, which is fueled with nitrous oxide. The third part is the expendable third stage, which has the second booster and the nitrous oxide oxidizer.
The ability to build and reuse the third stage of the rocket is changing the modern spaceflight industry. It is possible to build this third stage by melting the engines of the first and second stages into a block of metal. This may sound like common sense, but it was not common sense for many years in the U.S. military, and they only recently began selling the metal.
Space shuttle debris also makes it difficult to reuse components, but SpaceX is also experimenting with the design of their launch vehicles to divert the kinetic energy of the vehicle away from the hot gasses of the boosters and cause them to slow down before reentering the atmosphere. The savings made in the propulsion system by this design can be significant.
The third part of the rocket is reusable because it needs to be. It also needs to be refueled often because of the space environment and its extreme temperatures. It needs to fly through space at an altitude of several hundred miles to be able to land safely.
SpaceX is changing the modern spaceflight industry by using technology that would not be available to the government if they had not developed and shared their inventions with the world. These inventions are leading to new markets and new missions that have never been attempted before. We will soon be exploring the mysteries of outer space without the need for massive amounts of funding or a space program.
Commercial satellites are another area of focus for SpaceX. They are developing reusable satellite launchers to be used in conjunction with other aspects of their business plan. Using smaller space shuttles will make it possible to reduce the price of launch dramatically, and the ability to reuse these boosters will lower the cost of launching for commercial customers by at least 50 percent.