“If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred. A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space.” ~Elon Musk
Here’s the SpaceX plan:
For several years SpaceX has been working on the reusable rocket problem. They’ve been doing this in conjunction with developing a man-rated capsule for ferrying crew to orbit, along with development of the Falcon 9 Heavy. All of that is addition to running the day in, day out, business of manufacturing rockets from scratch and launching them.
Here’s a Falcon 9 Reusable test:
Once you make access to space inexpensive and routine everything changes. You can build things in orbit at a fraction of the cost of the ISS. People will routinely access orbit or beyond. Fuel and supplies can be lofted and docked to ships assembled in orbit, opening the solar system and beyond to human explorers.
And here is what reusablity allows. The habitation of space and, eventually, the opening of the universe.
“The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore, we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff.” ~Carl Sagan
Ad astra per aspera