After President George W. Bush canceled the space shuttle program and redirected NASA’s mission, NASA struggled to find the money and resources to focus on going back to the Moon and Mars. Due to its limited budget given by Congress, NASA would have needed to cancel other projects in order to have a realistic chance of resuming manned space exploration past the ISS. However, NASA could not find a way to allocate the resources for manned spaceflight, so they settled for exploration by other means i.e. satellites and rovers. Since the Space Shuttle program was canceled, NASA had no functioning rocket development program, so they turned to private companies like the United Launch Alliance and Russian space program to launch their astronauts to the ISS to continue space research. The government has continued to neglect NASA as a has been organization while prioritizing other issues to this day.
Spacex starts taking over
After some time, SpaceX arrived on the scene as a rising Aerospace company hell bent on disrupting the stagnant industry and resuming humanity’s natural tendency for exploration. Their mission was and still is to make space travel as affordable as possible in order to encourage the private and public sector to invest in a future where humans are colonizing planets and mining asteroids. First, they made the key improvement of making the Falcon 9, a $60 million rocket. The Falcon 9 was not only better than the competitors of its class, but it was also significantly cheaper. As a consequence, NASA was no longer tied to using the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket or the European Space Agency’s Ariane V rocket for low earth orbital payloads. As SpaceX started winning more and more NASA contracts, NASA saved more and more of its limited budget.
The second key innovation to the aerospace industry that SpaceX made was the programming of self-landing boosters. The Falcon 9 booster has the ability to land itself autonomously which allows for rapid reusability. This causes the price of launching a payload incredibly lower than its competitors who have to build a new rocket for every launch.
SpaceX’s third key innovation is the Falcon Heavy. This rocket outclasses its competition in every way. The Falcon Heavy has the potential to send astronauts to the ISS, the Moon, Mars, and beyond. All while achieving full reusability and low cost. The Falcon Heavy rocket is more powerful than any other rocket in use today by a factor of 2. This rocket even stacks up against the Saturn V well, the most powerful rocket in history. With the Falcon Heavy soon in full operation, with its first non-test flight being with The Planetary Society’s payload Lightsail 2, NASA has the option of using the Falcon Heavy to launch its astronauts over the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. This is not only good for NASA but is a tremendous achievement for American innovation by regaining its foothold on space travel not having to rely on foreign spacecraft.
What is important about SpaceX is its innovation and tremendous effort in advancing the human race to new heights in technology and exploration our natural born drive. As Star Trek says, Space is the Final Frontier. Without SpaceX, humans would continue to remain in their shell and not expand past Earth. SpaceX has started a new space race and companies like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic plan to compete with SpaceX to get humans in space and push the boundaries of what humans can do. The Falcon Heavy rocket was a testament to human ingenuity and advancement in space that hasn’t been seen since the Apollo program.