Until relatively recently, we believed that all great achievements in the space race belonged solely to the governments of major powerhouses. However, since the start of the new millennium, many private companies, regardless of their size or geographic location, have been focused on delivering a wide variety of solutions for space exploration.
Some have chosen to go even further by allocating large budgets in order to independently gain certain prominence in the business world of space. All this means that the rules have changed. Space has started to primarily be conceived as a business, and as such, is subject to different principles. Nowadays, commercial criteria are being imposed, rather than political or strategic criteria. Above all, there is a strong preoccupation with efficiency.
At the start of 2018, SpaceX achieved an important accomplishment – and its most obvious success to date – with the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is currently the most powerful launch vehicle in the world. It is 70 metres high and weighs 1,420 tonnes. Its launch payload capacity is at least twice that of the second-most powerful launch vehicle currently in existence: Delta IV Heavy, which belongs to United Launch Alliance (United States). Trailing behind these are Long March 5 (CALT, China), Ariane 5 (ESA, Europe) and others.
Beyond its payload capacity, the real revolution caused by SpaceX’s achievement is due to the possibility of recovering and reusing some parts of the rocket, which results in the cost of missions being significantly reduced.
This infographic depicts Falcon Heavy, the SpaceX rocket that is likely to become an important player in the current and future space race. And if for any reason this turns out not to be the case, at the very least it has laid the groundwork for achieving more efficient and economical space flights. Not only will this be an advantage for the manufacturer, but it will also directly contribute towards the prospect of carrying heavier loads to space (with greater capacity to incorporate better features), and of doing so more frequently.
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Source: Own work.
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