Space X is a really interesting company. Launched in 2002 by Elon Musk, Space X set out to colonize Mars. You did not misread that; to establish a human settlement on another planet. That is one heck of a long term goal. The technology, resources and people needed to achieve this goal are not easily found nor created. A big part of Space X’s long term strategy is to develop their rocket technology by filling the void left by the federal government’s reduction in NASA funding. Instead of NASA developing and building new rockets, private companies like Space X are providing the goods. NASA then contracts out to Space X to deliver supplies to the International Space Station or launch a satellite. This is tremendous for Space X as the technology required to get to Mars can be perfected while meeting the requirements of NASA.
The most expensive part of this journey is the production of the rocket. Currently when launching a satellite, the rocket is expended and discarded. Space X has had the novel idea of trying to reuse the rockets and greatly reduce the cost of launching into orbit. What amazes me is how far they have come in such a short time. This video explains the pains of developing their own technology and the holy grail of reusable rockets, the vertical landing.
When something goes wrong for engineers, a deep investigation into why it failed proceeds. Space X is developing their technology by learning from their failures. And as the video mentions, in four years, they have achieved much. Imagine how much they will achieve in the next four.