SpaceX says it's developing the first fully reusable rocket
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the Hawthorne commercial space venture known as SpaceX, announced another lofty objective Thursday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The company says it is working on the first-ever reusable rocket, which would fly back to Earth after a trip into orbit.
SpaceX produced an animated video to show how the reusable rocket technology would work. You can take a look at that below.
A reusable rocket is an elusive holy grail for rocket makers because it would save them tens of millions of dollars in development costs. The closest example of a reusable launch system is the retired space shuttle fleet, which were only partially reused after a tedious months-long overhaul.
It is the latest goal for the young company started by Elon Musk, 40, who made a fortune when he sold online payment business PayPal Inc. in 2002. In recent months, Musk has announced:
- Plans to build the world’s most powerful rocket since the mighty Saturn V rocket, which took man to the moon.
- Plans to be the first private company to send a capsule into space and dock with the International Space Station.
- Plans to invest $30 million for launchpad and hangar at Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara.
SpaceX is working on developing reusable rocket stages at its facility in McGregor, Texas.
-- W.J. Hennigan
Image: An artist's rendering of SpaceX's first fully reusable launch vehicle. Credit: Space Exploration Technologies Corp.