It has been an exciting week in the world of aerospace. A couple of days ago, two Turkish F-16’s shot down a Russian SU-24, tempting us nerds to dust off our old flight simulators, salivating at the prospect of more dogfights to come over the crowded skies of the Middle East. Just as thrilling, a company called Blue Origin became the newest private space company to launch a rocket into space and land it safely back on earth.
The development of safe, reusable rocket technology is ground-breaking, because it has the potential to reduce the cost, in terms of both money and resources, by a huge amount. Currently, a rocket can only be used once – an enormous waste. Basically, what Blue Origin, as well as Elon Musk’s Space-X and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic are doing, is solving one of the missing links to us all having our own X-Wing or Millennium Falcon.
We can take more from this.
The entry into the ring of another competitor, (in particular to Space-X which has won multiple billion dollar NASA contracts,) in the development of reusable rockets means that there will be even more energy injected into the spaceship marketplace. Blue Origin will have new ideas which even Musk could not have conceived. Costs will come down, and companies will leapfrog each other to develop bigger and better technology. One can only hope this trend of new entrants into this soon to be booming market will continue.
These companies should soon benefit from the fruits of space mining company’s efforts, such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, which are developing technology to harvest the mineral resources of near earth asteroids. Considering the calculation that there could be more platinum on one asteroid than has been mined from earth in all human history, it is Reasonable to predict that whoever can find a way to utilise these resources, either in outer space or back here on earth, will make an absolute mint.
Finally what is so great about so many companies springing up to launch humanity into space, is that those of us who wish to push our civilisation off our planet and into the solar system and beyond, are no longer held back by the entropic policies of government or the sceptical and downright oppositional attitudes of many of the public, to space travel and exploration. Those of humanity who cling to the idea that we shouldn’t invest in space technology before we have solved every problem here on earth, are welcome to keep wasting more and more taxpayer resources on grand social engineering projects.
Meanwhile, those of us who think space is the most awesome thing ever can invest our own time, our own money, our own resources, and most importantly, our own minds, into pushing ourselves as far as our drive and passion will take us.