SpaceX hopes to take a big step toward affordable rocketry on Sunday when it restocks the International Space Station with a reusable booster rocket.
The NASA-funded mission is using Elon Musk’s commercial space company to send up a rocket that can be reused, rather than the usual method of dumping boosters that can cost as much as $100 million into the sea.
“It’s like buying a Rolls-Royce, driving it until its first tank of gas runs out, ditching it, then buying another Rolls,” the Space Development Steering Committee said, according to Fox News.
On this first mission the rocket will be retrieved from the ocean, but in future flights SpaceX hopes to deploy booster rockets and retractable legs for booster rockets to land safely.
Reusable rockets could eventually drop the cost of sending objects into orbit from $38,000 per pound to as low as $10 for a fully reusable rocket, according to Howard Bloom, founder of the SDSC.
Musk, the chief executive at electric car maker Tesla, aims to reduce the cost of space travel by 100-fold to help “expand life beyond this green and blue ball—or go extinct.”
Photo courtesy of SpaceX