Filling Up Space
Another private company, Blue Origin, isn’t focusing on attracting commercial clients. It plans to lead the space tourism industry. Though its spacecraft have carried research payloads, the company’s primary goal is to sell tickets to ordinary people interested in space travel. Want to experience weightlessness? Interested in seeing earth from above? Blue Origin is betting you’re not alone.
But traveling with people is different than carting cargo. Satellites don’t have to breath! Traditionally, astronauts used compressed air to handle this need by regulating the pressurized tanks of liquid oxygen and nitrogen onboard. It requires adjustments for space and weight, and it mirrors the goal of reusable parts. If recovered, air compressors can last for years.
As of June 2016, Blue Origin had launched and recovered four reusable rockets. So far, the flights have been uncrewed, but the capsules that are intended for humans have returned safely under parachutes. The booster returns separately, powered by its launch engine. How much would you pay for a trip to space? Don’t worry. You still have time to save. Blue Origin isn’t releasing ticket prices yet.
Between saving money and sending tourists into space, reusing rockets might ultimately lower the price for the entire space travel industry. Who do you think will win the race? Comment in the section below!
About the Author: Megan Nichols loves discussing innovations in technology and science. Her favorite topics are astronomy, the environment, and psychology. If you are interesting in learning about other astronomical wonders, join the discussion on her blog, or follow her on twitter.