The Frontier Of Commercial Space On Low Earth Orbit

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In this article, I am going to talk about two companies in the frontier of commercial space in Low Earth Orbit. On the one hand, there is one of the first pioneers in commercial space flight, Virgin Galactic. On the other hand, there is the current rock star SpaceX. Both founded by celebrities, Space X is not only being the delivery boy International Space Station by Dragon but also on the road to the red planet, putting humans on Mars by 2026 with Mars Colonial Transporter. Meanwhile, after the fatal crash of SpaceShipTwo in 2014, Virgin Galactic is trying to recover by putting version two of SpaceShipTwo into works. In the following paper, I will elaborate further on both SpaceX and Virgin Galactic in terms of technology, implementation…show more content…
On the rockets side, SpaceX currently uses the medium-lift, two-stage, nine-engine rocket Falcon 9, the most experienced product of SpaceX with 19 launches so far. The standard cost of one Falcon 9 launch is 61.2 million dollars. It has 70 meters of height and more than 541.3 tons. On the Low Earth Orbit, it can carry 13150 kg of payload. On the Geostationary Transfer Orbit, it can carry 4850 kg worth of payload. Furthermore, In December 2015, SpaceX just made historic landing of a reusable rocket booster after launching it to the space carrying eleven Orbcomm communications satellites, Falcon 9 is highly likely become the world 's first truly reusable rockets. In addition, currently under development, SpaceX’s another rocket model, Falcon Heavy is scheduled to launch later this year in Kennedy Space Centre LC39A, Florida. SpaceX described Falcon Heavy as the “most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two”. According to official data from SpaceX, Falcon Heavy can 21.2 metric tons payload to Geostationary Transfer Orbit or 53 metric tons payload to Low Earth Orbit, the mass of a fully loaded Boeing 737. Delta IV Heavy is the current rocket with the highest capacity in the world. According to SpaceX, Falcon Heavy should be able to lift twice the payload with only a third of the cost around 90 million dollars per launch. Awarded with 2.6 billion dollars commercial crew contract in September 2014 by NASA, SpaceX is developing the world’s
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