While the Wright brothers were working on their primitive flying platform at Kitty Hawk, other inventors were doing the same thing. Ten years later, the Avro 504 fighter was being mass produced for World War I. Within five years, almost 9,000 were produced. Construction on the International Space Station began in 1998 and the first crew arrived to occupy it in 2000.
In the movie “Gravity”, the concept of moving from one space station to another was presented as a key survival factor. At this point, the history of rescue options for our singular space station has been limited to using the US Space Shuttle (which is no longer flying) and Russian rocket flights. With several space stations in orbit, it might be practical to arrange station to station rescue missions.
More space stations mean more crew in space, more activity in space, more preparation to take the next step. In order to build more stations, we need more ability to provide regular supply runs and crew shuttles. That means more rockets and more ability to launch them quickly and cheaply.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell isn’t satisfied with last week’s history-making relaunch and landing of a previously flown Falcon 9 rocket.
The way she sees it, rocket reusability doesn’t really count unless the rocket can be reused “almost as rapidly as you turn around an aircraft.”
“Our challenge right now is to refly a rocket within 24 hours,” she said here today at the 33rd Space Symposium. “That’s when we’ll really feel like we got the reusability just right.”
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A Space Based Construction Factory
Space Launch Costs Will Become Increasingly Irrelevant
Some of Us Need to Get Off This Planet
Things That Work Better in Space
A Mass Migration Into Space