Dawn Of The Commercial Rocket Age 🚀
Businesses Enter The Space Age
Since the beginning of the Space Race in 1957, rocket launches (which can reach orbit) have been the domain of large governments or the military! Since the late 2000’s, private companies have finally entered the market, which is hoped will dramatically reduce the cost of spaceflight!
Check out some of these exciting new rockets (and spacecraft) being developed by these commercial players!
Interesting Facts About The Private Spaceflight Companies (And Their Rockets)!
For the duration of the space age, until the mid-2000’s, launching satellites or spacecraft into Earth orbit (or outer space) was the domain of governments or large military corporations. Even then, these corporations utilized existing military rocket designs.
Due to the high cost of development, and small commercial satellite market, very few businesses showed an interest in building new rockets. This was despite the recent interest in space tourism which was sparked when seven lucky people paid millions to visit the International Space Station (ISS) and the Virgin Galactic’s promise of offering sub-orbital flights to space!
Then in the late 2000’s along came a private company, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), who aimed to reduce the cost of space transportation. The entrepreneur, Elon Musk, wanted to ultimately reduce the cost of launching rockets to enable humans to not only visit Mars but colonise it!
NASA, keen to help foster the young commercial launch market to reduce costs further, contracted private companies like SpaceX, Orbital ATK, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp to develop cargo and crew delivery capabilities. NASA needed these to help supply and deliver astronauts to the ISS. They believed that these private companies could do this at a lower cost than themselves, while also developing a commercial space industry.
Below you can check out some of the super cool new commercial rockets which are operating, or under development, which are able to reach Earth orbit or beyond!
- Pegasus – The rocket launched from a plane!
- The Falcon 9 | SpaceX’s remarkable reusable rocket!
- Top ten facts about Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket
- SpaceX’s Wicked Falcon Heavy Rocket
- New Glenn – Blue Origin’s planned heavy-lift rocket
- SpaceX’s inspiring interplanetary Big Falcon Rocket (BFR)
- Rocket Lab’s commercial CubeSat rocket Electron!
You may also be interested to check out some of the commercially developed cargo and crew spacecraft which private companies have developed (or are currently developing) to ferry astronauts or space tourist to space!;
- SpaceX’s Dragon – the private space cargo truck!
- Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft
- Private sub-orbital spaceflights with Virgin Galactic
- SpaceX’s awesome ‘Crew Dragon’ spacecraft
- Boeing’s commercial CST-100 Starliner crew capsule
- Private sub-orbital spaceflights with Blue Origin
- Check out the cool looking Dream Chaser cargo spaceplane!