SpaceX is poised to launch the Block 5 Falcon 9 Rocket for the first time – serving as the fifth and final revision of the Falcon 9.
Elon Musk’s main goal with SpaceX is to make space travel much more commonplace and accessible by reducing cost and increasing our ability to make our way into the far reaches of outer space. A big part of reducing cost is building spacecraft with reusable parts, and the Block 5 Falcon 9 rocket will be able to be flown a minimum of 10 times – and perhaps even more. While there have been some reusable spacecraft in the past, we haven’t really seen a craft like the Block 5 Falcon 9 that can allow such a significantly expensive piece of equipment to see so much use.
In addition to adding a significant amount of reusability to the Block 5 Falcon 9, we’ll also see a huge reduction in the turnaround time between launches of the booster – allowing flights to happen within just a few weeks of one another rather than with months in between.
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The development of the Black 5 Falcon 9, if it proves to be successful, will be a massive achievement for SpaceX and a huge step forward in their attempts to create economical spaceflight. At this point in time, the Falcon 9 rockets have only been reused one additional time – if they can truly manage to pull off the creation of a model that can be used ten times, it will be a significant leap in the profitability of spaceflight and may jumpstart our ability to make frequent forays into outer space.
The Block 5 Falcon 9 includes a myriad of changes and improvements that Musk and his company hopes will optimize the Falcon 9 for reusability. Outside of news that there have been these improvements, we’re unclear as to what the specifics may be. While there’s certainly a possibility that the company is overpromising and overblowing the capabilities of the Block 5 Falcon 9 and any claims should be viewed with a certain amount of skepticism, we’ll know before too long whether or not the future of spaceflight is now – propelling us into a future where trips into orbit are actually relatively affordable (at least for businesses with some money to burn.)
Many are wondering what sort of implications a development such as the Block 5 Falcon 9 will have on the future of trips into outer space and it’s an interesting question to consider. With a reusable rocket that could potentially be used up to 10 times, it makes sense that SpaceX would have a new stream of profit opportunities – turning what was once an expensive investment in the future of space technology into a money-making endeavor. There has been some speculation that this sort of technology might reduce the price of their launches but company spokesperson James Gleeson has stated that “there’s no change” at this point in time. Experts expect that the price may eventually be cut by 20 to 40 percent for the Block 5 Falcon 9 launches – bringing the cost down to $40 million from $62 million.
There’s no doubt about it: the development of the Block 5 Falcon 9 will change the spaceflight game for both SpaceX and for other businesses who rely on reliable and affordable space transportation. This sort of reduction in resource usage may make space travel much more accessible moving forward, and it’s likely that other companies and agencies will follow suit with their own developments – propelling the industry forward at large.