From our small Earth we have gazed upon the cosmos and wondered what lay ahead for an untold amount of years. The first man to orbit the earth from space was Yuri Gagarin, he accomplished this feat on April 12th 1961. After hearing about the successful space launch, the idea of sending people like you and I into space became a real idea and was developed on heavily. Unfortunately due to the tragic accident aboard the Challenger spacecraft in 1989 that resulted in the death of a school teacher and six other crew members, the idea of sending normal people into space became a discontinued idea. Luckily for dreamers like you and I who would one day like to get away from the chaos on earth and just enjoy the bliss in outer space, The SpaceX program was formed and its goal was to send your average Joe to space.
On May 6th of 2002, The American entrepreneur Elon Musk founded the SpaceX program, a program which was intended to reduce the cost of space transportation, so regular people could go into space, and to colonize Mars. For several years Musk and designed a space transformation method that would be cost effective, and in 2011 they announced that they had started to fund the Reusable Launch System Technology Development Program, which was a system in which multiple rockets could be reused by falling back down to the earth after going into space. The intent was to launch an astronaut into space and then have the rocket return to earth once the astronaut had reached his destination. Unfortunately none of their attempts had succeeded until December of 2015 when they made a huge breakthrough as they finally achieved a vertical landing from one of their rockets that reentered the atmosphere and entered the earth. However their biggest breakthrough came in March of 2017 when they became the first people to successfully relaunch the first stage of an orbital rocket.
This came as a huge surprise, as it opened up people’s eyes to the opportunities that they were given with the introduction of this technology. For example, pepole realized that with this technology, rockets would get cheaper to build as they would be reusable (like aeroplanes) and thus it was the first big step in the ability to send regular people to space. In fact 2 wealthy anonymous individuals, reportedly have asked for their own Dragon rockets that will take them around the moon and back to earth. Now you must be asking yourself, what is Dragon Technology, don’t worry we’ve got you covered.
What is the dragon technology?
“Dragon is a free-flying spacecraft designed to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations. Dragon made history in 2012 when it became the first commercial spacecraft in history to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and safely return cargo to Earth, a feat previously achieved only by governments.” – SpaceX. The Dragon will have its first manned flight test in early 2018. The Dragon can hold up to 6000 kg whilst launching, but on return it can only hold 3000 kg of payload making it the perfect commercial and cargo spacecraft. Furthermore, the second stage of the entire rocket is the Falcon 9 a state of the art spacecraft which only cost 62 million dollars to build a huge decrease from the average rocket price of 500 million dollars! Not only does the falcon cost less then a normal second stage rocket, but it also performs much better, as it is able to complete its mission even after engine failure. The Falcon 9 made history in 2012 when it delivered Dragon into the correct orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station, making SpaceX the first commercial company ever to visit the station. Since then Falcon 9 has made numerous trips to space, delivering satellites to orbit as well as delivering and returning cargo from the space station for NASA. Falcon 9, along with the Dragon spacecraft, was designed from the outset to deliver humans into space and under an agreement with NASA. Doesn’t this amaze you, if we keep reducing the price of rockets at this rate our families could actually be in space by 2030.
So far the SpaceX program has had a number of launches,
Its maiden launch occurred on June 4, 2010 and was deemed a success, placing the test payload within 1 percent of the intended orbit. Thought during takeoff the rocket was rotating quite a bit though after reaching the atmosphere the rotation seemed to have stopped, making it the first step to success.
Its next most successful launch came in December of 2017 when they managed to successfully land a orbital rocket vertically, making it a huge breakthrough as it was previously never done before. It became the first sign that the SpaceX program was destined for success
However, Its most recent one at the time of this article, was on January 8th of 2018 and was named the Zuma launch. The Zuma launch is a pretty controversial topic as it is currently unknown whether the launch was a complete success, or a catastrophic failure. The wall street journal reported about the Zuma launch and stated that many people from within the SpaceX program had told them that it had been a disaster, although it was probably a misunderstanding as the SpaceX team came out and said that it was a complete success. This misunderstanding has not delayed the launch of the first manned spacecraft that SpaceX will send in the early months to come of this year.