SpaceX Offers 30% Price Cut for flight in Used Rocket
Several companies in the field of space exploration, including SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, have been working on the concept of reusable launch vehicles so as to achieve the dream of landing a rocket after successful missions.
Apart from being a scientific breakthrough, such reusable vehicles are going to save huge money for these companies, which can be used for further research.
As part of this initiative, Elon Musk’s SpaceX last week organized another successful launch of its Falcon 9 rocket. Though the launch was as the company had desired, the landing was not quite as successful as the one in December (it crashed into the ocean).
Reusability, as such, has always been SpaceX’s goal to provide the cheapest access to space missions. By using SpaceX rockets for space launch, companies are likely to save around 30% in cost, meaning a single launch would cost around $40 million.
There is cut-throat competition in the field and here are some offers from SpaceX’s rival companies: US firm ULA charges a minimum of $164 million per launch, and European Arianespace charges $167 million per launch. But pressure following the $40 million proposed deal from SpaceX may further cut the cost of its next generation rocket to $90 million.
All the recent advances in space exploration technology have been combining older proven technologies with modern computing capabilities, materials and fabrication processes.
SpaceX’s operations chief Gwynne Shotwell said, “You pull off the cover and that wire harness is pristine. The metal is still shiny. You pull off the thermal protection system that we have near the engine, and that engine is beautiful. It is perfectly clean”.
Shotwell highlighted SpaceX’s price reduction at a satellite industry conference yesterday. After landing the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket in December, SpaceX expects to prepare it for flight and re-fuel it for just $4 million, slashing about $18 million from the rocket’s cost.