SpaceX Landing Is Huge For The Future Of Space Travel

Photo: Joe Skipper/Reuters.
One giant leap for getting humankind off this rock went down Monday night. Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral, after three prior failed attempts, CNN reports.

Why should you care? Well, it means that commercial space travel might be closer than we think. We asked astrophysicist Christine Corbett Moran, PhD, to explain.

An astrophysicist, hacker, explorer, scientist, and former roller-derby player, Dr. Moran worked at SpaceX as an intern in propulsion analysis in 2014. We’ve been following her on Twitter ever since her impressive profile in counterculture magazine Mask earlier this year. We asked Dr. Moran what made tonight’s rocket landing a monumental event.

“SpaceX has been helping to revolutionize space travel by driving down the cost: taking proven technology and adding modern manufacturing and Silicon Valley intensity of engineering,” Dr. Moran says. “At the same time they hope to drive down the cost by making part of the rocket, the so-called first stage, reusable. This has never been done before for the type of launches, satellites, and resupplies the ISS SpaceX does. Reusing this component will save tens of millions of dollars per launch, and will also enable quicker launch turnarounds in the future."

Dr. Moran goes on to explain, "imagine you had to build a brand new 777 prior to every commercial flight.” That’s the extent to which space travel is hindered today. “SpaceX is reusing things with the hope of having the cost go down, and having launches go on as regular a schedule as commercial flights one day.”

The price factor is massive in this field of scientific research. As the consequence of some divisive partisan politics in the House and Senate (what else is new?), organizations like NASA have seen their funding cut time and time again. It’s incredible that human ingenuity can prevail even in a detrimental political climate.

Frankly, the sooner we can capitalize on space travel, the better. Just think of all the marketing potential with paparazzi photographing Kimye disembarking a rocketship in Yeezy 2066. Related: moon boots are back in.

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