DEC 12, 2017 10:48 AM PST

Does SpaceX Really Save Money with Reusable Rockets?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


SpaceX is renowned for being one of the only American commercial space companies with reusable rockets that can put satellites into orbit around the Earth. One of the primary reasons why they do it is that it's purportedly cheaper.

If you remember NASA's Space Shuttle, each launch would cost approximately $450 million. Comparing that to the $83 million launch cost from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, there's some opportunity for savings.

One of the downsides to SpaceX's Falcon 9 is its storage space, which isn't quite as roomy as the Space Shuttle was. It takes several Falcon 9 launches to replicate the capacity of a single Space Shuttle launch, and so there's internal debate regarding whether any of that cost-savings gets transferred to the customer (NASA) or not.

The reusable rocket business saves SpaceX a ton of money because the company can merely refurbish a rocket for a fraction of the cost of building a new one. These savings won't revolutionize the space industry, on the other hand, until NASA begins seeing some of that cost savings trickle down the line.

Fortunately, SpaceX's upcoming Falcon Heavy rocket will offer more storage space for the cost, and it could translate to additional cost savings for both SpaceX and the consumer. As it would seem at first glance, reusable rocket technology can save money, but we won't see any hardcore savings until future advancements in technology become the standard.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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