Now let’s get this straight. If we (by we, I mean a common man with medium level income) are to travel to space it’s impossible with a single-use rocket. With a per launch cost of over 60 million dollars, a common man can only dream about going to space. It’s like flying by a 757 jet and destroying it at the end of the flight. Nobody would take the flight if they knew their planes would be destroyed in the end. The cost for rocket launch has to be drastically brought down and that is what a number of companies like Space X, Blue Origin, Masten Space Centre, Airbus and others have been trying to do. In fact Space X and Blue Origin have already been successful in bringing back the rockets and rocket boosters and landing them vertically.
At the moment, Space X’s ‘The SpaceX reusable launch system development program’ is far ahead of the other programs. It is a privately funded program. It’s aim is to develop a set of new technologies for an orbital launch system that may be reused many times in a manner similar to that of an aircraft. It’s long-term goal includes the redesigning of the launch vehicles of both the stages so as to relaunch within a few hours. Another company Blue Origin, has a rocket reusable program by the name of New Shephard reusable launch system which is a Vertical Take-off Vertical Landing (VTVL) suborbital rocket. In 2015, New Shephard booster successfully performed a powered vertical soft landing, the first time a booster rocket had returned from space to make a vertical soft landing. Similarly, DARPA XS-1 is a planned experimental reusable spaceplane/booster. It is designed to deliver small satellites into orbit for the US military.
There are so much of advantage to be had from rocket reusability. Along with saving money, time is saved across the board— time saved in terms of how fast you can get up and be flying again; you just have to make some spot checks just like an aeroplane, you don’t have to employ more people to check every little thing, you don’t have to have systems to check every little thing; If in case there is an issue, that issue can just be dealt with as opposed to taking the entire thing apart. There is no need to double check everything. It’s just a compound issue of time and money saved. With so many companies gearing up to make reusable rockets a reality, let’s hope space flight will be a reality for you and me in the near future.