Monday, January 5, 2015

SpaceX making history this week?

In 2014, I thought I was in luck. We were going to Disney World and SpaceX was going going to run its first attempt at launching a rocket with landing gear. I was going to see history being made. Except I didn't in the end. A range safety failure closed down Cape Canaveral to launches for a few weeks and the historic launch was postponed.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Tuesday's historic launch will fly without a hitch. This time, they're trying to actually land a 1st stage Falcon 9 component. It's landing site is going to be on an autonomous barge in the Atlantic ocean for now but the ultimate aim is to have return flights go directly back to a maintenance facility where the stages can get refurbished and reused.

If a full Falcon 9 can get reused even once, it will chop off 40% or better of the cost to launch as the $54 million construction cost can be amortized over two launches. If the components can be reused more than once, the savings get even more spectacular.

These are heady days for spaceflight, even if Tuesday's launch develops a glitch. I'm very confident that they'll get it done relatively quickly.