The Reusable Rocket


1) Sustainability Area: Resource saving and lower cost space business


The space shuttle was reusable but proved to be so time-consuming and expensive to turn around between flights that the projected cost savings were never realized.

For nearly 60 years, the spaceflight industry has survived despite following a business model that would quickly put any other company under.

The aerospace industry runs on rockets, which cost tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to build and launch, and then can only be flown once. They literally crash and burn and all that money goes up in smoke.

After a rocket has fulfilled its mission, most of it will fall back to Earth, land in the ocean, and sink to the seafloor, never to be seen again.

e new reusable rockets, developed by SpaceX, which is privately owned by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, are already the cheapest in the industry.

It could drop the price by an order of magnitude, sparking more space-based enterprise, which in turn would drop the cost of access to space still further through economies of scale.

Driving this need for reusability is the fact that SpaceX is a privately-owned company. It cannot rely on an endless budget like the government-run space agencies that dominated the aerospace industry throughout the last half of the 20th century.

2) Technology/Deployment

  •  The company, SpaceX, is developing the technologies over a number of years to facilitate full and rapid reusability of space launch vehicles.
  • The project’s long-term objectives include returning a launch vehicle first stage to the launch site in minutes and to return a second stage to the launch pad following orbital realignment with the launch site and atmospheric reentry in up to 24 hours.
  • SpaceX’s long term goal is that both stages of their orbital launch vehicle will be designed to allow reuse a few hours after return.
  • The reusable launch system technology was developed and initially used for the first stages of the Falcon family of rockets.
  • After stage separation, the return process involves flipping the booster around, an optional boostback burn to reverse its course, a reentry burn, controlling direction to arrive at the landing site and a landing burn to affect the final low-altitude deceleration and touchdown.
  • SpaceX is intending to develop technology to extend reusable flight hardware to second stages, a more challenging engineering problem because the vehicle is travelling at orbital velocity.
  • In 2016, the company shot off a rocket and brought it back by gently, precisely landing it upright on a drone ship bobbing on the ocean.
  • In March, 2017Tonight, it did it all over again with the same booster, same cheekily-named drone ship (Of Course I Still Love You). It was the first time for any commercial space company that as attempted to reuse a rocket to send something into orbit.

3) Stakeholders:

  • Space business industry both in public and private
  • IT business industry
  • Investors


<Comment on You Can’t Spell ‘Carbon Nanotube Electricity’ Without ‘Yarn’>

To do harvest created electricity, it is needed to be dunked the whole thing in water with dissolved ions so that it would ferry the charges to nearby electrodes. However, having to keep the yarn submerged in an ionic solution the whole time it is operating is obviously of an inconvenience, unless the place you’re looking to harvest energy from is one giant ionic liquid. Then, research team made a salt solution that mimicked the concentration found in the ocean. Then, they put a length of yarn between a weight and a float, and dumped it into the ocean off South Korea. As waves rolled through, the device generated electricity, though it required a platinum electrode, given the corrosive nature of seawater.



Fall 2017 – Week 8





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