Elon Musk has done it again. The chief executive officer (CEO) and chief technical officer (CTO) of the multi-billion dollar company SpaceX, racked up another incredible accomplishment in the space industry, further separating SpaceX from the rest of the pack. This past week SpaceX became the first company to use the same commercial spacecraft, sending the Dragon capsule on its second mission to the International Space Station.
The Dragon capsule’s first mission to the International Space Station was used to carry supplies and provisions for experiments on the space station. That was back in September 2014. This achievement made SpaceX the first commercial company to attach a craft to the International Space Station. For almost 3 years, it’s been refurbished until it was ready to be used again this past June 3. It took 36 hours for the craft to reach the International Space Station, and then resided at the station for around a month. During that time astronauts unloaded its supplies for their mission. On Monday, July 3, early in the morning in Eastern Standard Time, the Dragon capsule departed from the Space Station and began its trip back to earth. Only a few hours later, after completing its departure burns and deorbit burns, the Dragon capsule reached Earth’s atmosphere. At 8:14 AM EDT it made its splash landing in the Pacific Ocean. Everything went according to plan.
This is a step forward for the space giant, as it propels its vision for reusing spacecrafts. This will drastically cut spending and lower how much it costs to accomplish these space operations. By reusing their spacecrafts and cutting spending, SpaceX will be able to accomplish more, while spending less money. This has often been the number one issue when it comes to space exploration. The second voyage of the Dragon capsule is a large step in the right direction. This all fits in Musk’s plans to further space exploration, including colonizing other planets like Mars. If Musk wants to be sending thousands of people to space, then recycling his spacecraft is an absolute must if he expects anyone to be able to pay for the trip.
Elon Musk is no stranger to being on the cutting edge of industry shifting ideas, like this one. This latest move of his should come at no surprise. Musk has always been in the business of cutting costs. SpaceX was founded when he realized he could build rockets for a fraction of the price they were being sold at. The same is true for his car company Tesla, of which Musk is the CEO. They’re currently working on a car that fits in the same market as other cars ranging around $100,000. But the Tesla Model 3 will cost a mere $35,000. Until the creation of this model, the cheapest option was $68,000.
Musk didn’t achieve a net worth of $17 billion without some ingenious ideas like these. As creativity and design continue to flourish, undoubtedly SpaceX will continue to reach new heights.