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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    324

    Smile SpaceX

    Hello. I find the 'SpaceX' story an interesting one. They seem to be using landing legs to return the first stage of the rocket to hopefully be re-used.

    Question: Why has this not been done before?

    #2. I don't see other rocket builders doing the same thing. Why? Could it be that they cannot afford to do so?

    Bye
    SC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    4,500
    Quote Originally Posted by Gorn View Post
    Hello. I find the 'SpaceX' story an interesting one. They seem to be using landing legs to return the first stage of the rocket to hopefully be re-used.

    Question: Why has this not been done before?

    #2. I don't see other rocket builders doing the same thing. Why? Could it be that they cannot afford to do so?

    Bye
    SC
    It's been worked on but some of the projects ran into various issues to do with mission profiles and budgets. DC-X successfully made landings but was hampered by political infighting and possibly being over ambitious in that the long term aim of the project was a Single Stage To Orbit(SSTO) vehicle. Details are here. DC-X did apparently provide an inspiration for the current work being done by Blue Origin. Japan had the RVT program that was successful but so far hasn't led to any further developments.

    SpaceX are limiting their work at the moment to a reusable first stage, which somewhat simplifies things. Added to which they can do testing using existing hardware and working it into other programs; i.e. testing the landing legs on the next CRS flight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    511
    NASA is struggling to even have a rocket and is heavily hamstrung by political concerns, so is ESA but for different reasons, and ULA (Lockheed/Boeing) are more interested in lobbying for a monopoly so they can keep selling their current expensive launchers forever. The Russian space program has relatively little money but there's been rumblings of their budget going up, so that might change things. India has talked about reusable rockets but it's something still firmly in the future. China I don't really know about - do they have any plans?

    Basically, due to various reasons SpaceX are the only ones with the will and means to do it. They've demonstrated that any number of organizations could have done it with a modest investment, they've just chosen not to. It's kinda sad but I'm happy at least someone is trying.

  4. #4