The way to the future!; How SpaceX is writing history

The printing press, the car, and airplanes were all invented then took time to be widely used.  In fact Gutenberg had to ensure that hundreds of copies of his books would sell, so he could pay back his investors.(1) Naturally his and other great inventions such as the car or airplanes were not an instant hit, but significantly made our lives better as they started being more accessible.  Now books can be as cheap as a dollar, you can buy a car or get a cheaper Uber ride, and fly to Cancun for under 100 dollars if you buy at the right time.

This is where Space X comes in, the history making company of our time.  The creator of this company, Elon Musk’s goal is to send people to Mars.  He has not reached that goal of course, but has made strides towards it.  Prior to Space X, one rocket launch to the International Space Station would cost the tax payers 500 million dollars.  Musk however, built a lower cost rocket, by engineering about 85% of the individual pieces that go into his rockets.  He did not build everything by himself, but did manage to lower the cost per launch to 60 million dollars. (2) Also, his Dragon and Falcon rockets are reusable.  The progress made by this private company is slowly surpassing NASA’s product, the shuttle.

Courtesy of San Benito News

This seems in some way similar to the path that cars, airplanes and the printing press took, they were made cheaper, and are now accessible.

The availability of this company’s services also directly adds to the continually growing history of Texas.  The small town of Boca Chica near Brownsville hosts one of the few spaceports built by Space X, and has been considered in the 2019 launch of Elon Musk’s BFR (Big >>>> Rocket) which would have Mars as it’s destination.(3)

The competition has one rocket part factory in Harlingen, Texas, these are the United Launch Alliance people (ULA).  This is a two company alliance formed in response to the emergence of Space X, and is comprised of Boeing Defense Systems and Lockheed Martin.  Another rocket company is Blue Origin, created by Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon.  There was not much available information on Blue Origin, but to give an idea of how cheap Musk has made launches compare the cost.  One ULA launch will cost 109 million, almost 50 million more than one by SpaceX.(4)

So just as there is a history of cars, airplanes, etc… there is a history of rockets, and Texas continues to play a part in it through NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance.  It would be interesting to see this fact take effect on young students who might one day be aerospace engineers or astronauts.

 

1. Patrick Wyman, Gutenberg and the Printing Press, Tides of History

2. Ashlee Vance, Elon Musk, (Harper Collins Publishers, New York 2015) 215-218

3. Rye Druzin, SpaceX’s South Texas Launch pad may get Mars-sized boost, San Antonio Express News (March 1 2018).

4. Fortune, Rocket Launch Prices are Crashing Amid Competition From SpaceX, (April 5 2017) Accessed April 5th 2018

 

 

 

 

4 Replies to “The way to the future!; How SpaceX is writing history”

  1. I really like your take on young peoples role in all of this. Really so essential to see because we are literally witnessing history and we can shape it now if we recognize it and your take on space X is recognizing that history.

  2. While I’m not a huge fan of governments spending large amounts of money just to send men to Mars, I do appreciate how SpaceX is seeking to make these rocket launches more cheaper and efficient. I’ve never heard of SpaceX until very recently when they sent a Tesla car to Mars, but it’s almost unbelievable how much the private company has accomplished since its creation in 2002. I’m interested to see how their relationship with NASA unfolds in the coming years. Fascinating blog!

  3. Even though i’m not into astronomy, this is really interesting. The fact that spending was reduced so much and some rockets are reusable is really great. This is something I would love to see unfold.

  4. Arguably humankind’s greatest achievement was landing on the moon. I believe space travel to be the next phase for humans. The space race between the United States and former U.S.S.R led to great technological feats. While governmental commitment to space travel, missions, etc. has weakened over the past half century, it is incredible to see the corporate sector tackle this challenge. It’s also interesting to not Texas’s role in all of this.

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