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SpaceX and the Future of Space Travel

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Aurora, IL
rockets, space, astronaut, aeronautics, travel, Elon musk, flight, planets, stem, steme
A SpaceX rocket blasts off from a launch complex.

SpaceX, under the leadership of Elon Musk, has built itself a solid reputation of being a dependable and advanced space exploration company. It has landed numerous contracts with NASA, launched astronauts to the ISS in high-stakes endeavors, and has completed tests of its own working towards getting people to Mars. It has even deployed thousands of Starlink satellites in order to hopefully build up a satellite internet system accessible from anywhere in the world. All in all, SpaceX has recently become a world leader in aerospace technology and has some big plans for the future.

Recently, SpaceX launched its Crew-3 Mission containing 4 NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer docked safely at the ISS at 6:32 PM EST on Thursday, November 11. During a launch, SpaceX rockets go through a number of phases. First is liftoff, where the first stage of the rocket launches it into orbit altitude. The second stage speeds it up to orbital velocity, which is the speed necessary to go into orbit and later latch onto the ISS. Next, the crew pod detaches from the rest of the rocket, which speeds the pod up in order for it to catch up to the ISS. Then, the pod establishes communication with the ISS to coordinate its docking maneuvers. After aligning with the docking port of the space station, the pod initiates an autonomous maneuver in order to connect. All of these complex procedures are necessary for transporting astronauts to the ISS where they can conduct vital research for NASA. The whole mission is a testament to how difficult aerospace navigation and conduction can be.

rockets, space, astronaut, aeronautics, travel, Elon musk, flight, planets, stem, steme
Starlink satellites constantly orbit around the Earth, delivering internet signals to those in remote areas.

Starlink is one of SpaceX’s lesser-known endeavors, but is still an equally important one. Over the past few years, SpaceX has launched 1,844 Starlink satellites in total with the addition of this mission. Starlink satellites are used for establishing a satellite-based Internet that will give Internet access to those in undeveloped regions of the world. Currently, it is in its beta stage, offering services for $99 a month plus $499 for hardware. Although the price is steep, it will most likely decline for the general public release. Since the satellites are orbiting around the Earth constantly, Internet can be distributed all over the world. The special thing about Starlink is that once its Falcon 9 rocket deploys the satellites, it can land itself at a predetermined launching area, which is incredibly difficult.

rockets, space, astronaut, aeronautics, travel, Elon musk, flight, planets, stem, steme
A futuristic artist's rendition shows what a SpaceX Mars base could look like.

Elon Musk is planning for the future with an increasing number of ambitious endeavors. His most important ambition is getting humanity to Mars, making our planet an interplanetary civilization. Although it will be challenging, he has it all planned out and believes that the potential positives in this situation far outweigh any possible negatives. Starship, the name of the potential Mars rocket, has been tested multiple times, some being successful and others resulting in an explosion. The current goals are unmanned Starship spacecraft on Mars by 2024 and a manned spacecraft by 2026. Although Musk’s projects may seem like pipe dreams now, Apollo 11 was regarded in the same manner when it was gearing up for launch. Apollo 11 went on to become a huge success and made the US the only country to land people on the moon. If faith is placed in SpaceX and its missions, it has the potential to do something revolutionary on an interplanetary scale.

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