Elon Musk announced that a SpaceX is developing the Falcon 9 and Dragon into a fully reusable launch vehicle/capsule system. In short, they are actually going to go for making the Falcon 9 live up to it’s namesake.
I can’t help but contrast this animated system with the SLS announcement from NASA. It illustrates my criticism of recent NASA policy perfectly: at Congress’s behest, the space agency has stopped innovating.
It’s not a super-heavy-lift launch vehicle that will enable expansion of the human exploration program beyond flags-and-footprints missions or the long-term development of space. Instead, it’s the fantastically easier access to space afforded by a rapidly reusable launch system like that presented by Musk. The control technology and hardware for such a system exists already; I hope to see test flights in a few years. With only a little luck, they’ll happen before the first SLS is supposed to take off.
One thought on “Now THIS is What I’m Talking About”
I totally agree with you.
I believe that we need to being experimenting with using the resources available in space. Asteroids are accessible and hold vast reserves of useful resources, we only need to learn to use this resource. Most of that work can be done with robotic spacecraft which would extract, refine, and build structures for human habitation with only a few launches from Earth.