This is a small step in the history of human spaceflight, but the first step in the history of commercial spaceflight. Musk’s SpaceX has ushered in a new era of commercial space flight by beating its old rival Boeing in terms of cost and efficiency. At 12:22 p.m. local time on May 30, At the Kennedy Aviation Center in Florida, SpaceX successfully launched its second-generation Dragon spacecraft into space with its Falcon 9 rocket.
Musk founded SpaceX as a pioneer in commercial space, and manned spaceflight is no longer a government patent. The launch also means that the United States has ended its nearly decade-old dependence on Russia in this area. Since the us retired from the US space shuttle in 2011, the US has relied on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft to send its own astronauts into space, only to endure rising russian prices. The price of each ticket for the Soyuz spacecraft has risen from $43.4 million in 2011 to $86 million today.
With the successful launch of the manned spaceflight, SpaceX has joined the manned space super club, which currently has only two members from Russia and China. Of course, this is mainly because the original gold card member of the U.S. government chose to withdraw. The reason why the United States gave up the space shuttle is simple, in order to save money. During the space shuttle’s three decades of service, the U.S. government actually spent $209 billion on the program, costing $1.4 billion per launch.
Unwilling to bear nasa’s rising budget, the Bush administration decided in 2004 to liberalize the aerospace industry by launching the Commercial Crew Program, outsourcing what the original government agencies did to private domestic companies and stimulating competition in the commercial aviation industry. Under the plan, u.S. private companies would build new space tools in 2016, but the actual results show that commercial manned spaceflight was three or four years behind schedule.
NASA announced its space exploration program, invested some of its money, shifted some of its technology and design, while the private sector designed and built its own spacecraft. In addition to NASA’s investments, they need to raise their own funds. Private companies face stiff competition to bid for projects, and NASA’s investments and contracts are only possible if they come up with reliable, stable and cost-effective solutions and products.
The first bidders included Boeing, SpaceX, Bezos’ Blue Origin Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada, a private aerospace company founded in 1963. The companies each produced their own spacecraft: Boeing launched the CST-100 Starliner, SpaceX took out the Dragon spacecraft, the blue-origin cone-shaped spacecraft was named Space Vehicle, and Sierra Nevada designed a space shuttle-like Dream Chaser.
The end result is that Musk’s SpaceX seized the historic opportunity to beat industry giants Boeing and Bezos to become the first person to make a commercial manned spaceflight. That doesn’t mean SpaceX has a monopoly on the market, of course, and rivals such as Boeing and Blue Origin are still catching up and will continue to take on commercial space travel in the future. In addition to the space station project, NASA recently outsourced its re-entry to the moon. SpaceX, Blue Origin and another space company, Dynetics, were the winning bidder.
In September 2014, after a four-year bidding process, NASA finally chose Boeing and SpaceX to split a $6.8 billion contract for a manned space program. Boeing and SpaceX received contracts worth $4.3 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively. Under the contract, each company would need to take four astronauts up and down the space station two to six times at a time. At the time, NASA was aiming to send at least one U.S. spacecraft back and forth to the space station by the end of 2017. As long as both sides meet the requirements, NASA will continue to use both ships. Add to that the previous contract, which cost Boeing $4.82 billion from NASA and $3.14 billion from SpaceX.
But a few years ago, perhaps without Musk, not many people believed That SpaceX could beat Boeing. U.S. lawmakers even questioned at the hearing why NASA chose the two companies to complete commercial manned air missions, and why it didn’t simply leave the project entirely to Boeing. Musk, on the other hand, is complaining on Twitter about why it’s not fair why our contract is so small than Boeing’s. In 2012, he mocked Boeing’s slow efficiency, “spending $20 billion over 10 years to improve their aircraft by 10%.”
NASA’s commercial manned space flight program contract is fixed, meaning that private companies must effectively control costs or else have to pay additional costs themselves. This is the innate advantage of start-up SpaceX over Boeing. If they had operated like Boeing, SpaceX might have gone bankrupt. Initially, spaceX used acquired recycled parts extensively to save money. Recycling reduces costs, which is what SpaceX is all about for rocket core-level recycling.
SpaceX already has a wealth of delivery experience. They have been transporting cargo and supplies to the space station since 2012, when the Dragon spacecraft was used. The Falcon 9 rocket not only serves NASA, but also undertakes other commercial space programs such as satellites. The Falcon 9 is not a number, but a rocket with nine engines. Including yesterday’s second-generation Dragon spacecraft, the Falcon 9 rocket has been launched 86 times since 2010 and has been successful 83 times. The current version is falcon 9 Block 5.
Both SpaceX and Boeing have been delayed by more than two years in commercial manned space flight, but SpaceX’s rockets and spacecraft, which are faster than Boeing’s, have had explosions and progress in the development of parachutes for the spacecraft’s return, but In the end SpaceX fixed all the problems in time.
SpaceX has raised a total of $3.2 billion since 2002. But as the business expands, so does SpaceX’s funding needs. SpaceX has raised $1.7 billion since 2019. With a valuation of close to $40 billion, it is one of the world’s most valued startups.
By contrast, aviation giant Boeing doesn’t have the same cost-urgency as SpaceX, and they continue the pace of work that has taken on big government projects. Last year Boeing’s Starliner was unmanned, and as a result, due to an outrageous software problem (an 11-hour deviation), it was severely derailed and did not reach the space station because of a lack of fuel.
Musk may have been emplaced at the time, expressing his blessing to Boeing. “It’s hard to get into orbit. I wish them a smooth return next time.” But as a result, Boeing will only be able to test again later this year, and if all goes well, it may have the hope of sending astronauts to the space station next year, at least a year later than SpaceX.
In addition to the commercial manned space flight program, NASA has been disappointed with Boeing on other projects. Boeing is the main contractor for NASA’s 2010 Space Launch System (SLS) project, but Boeing’s research and development at the core stage of the SLS rocket has been slow, delayed several times, and delivery has been delayed from 2017 to the present, with a growing budget. The jump in the program has severely delayed NASA’s follow-up space exploration program. When Boeing acquired the project, Musk also publicly complained that NASA was unfair to itself.
Now, however, Boeing is in the midst of an on-the-ground diplomatic crisis. Boeing suffered huge losses in two consecutive 737 Max crashs last year, and this year’s new crown outbreak has hit the global airline industry hard, forcing it to slash jobs and seek government relief. Boeing’s market value has also shrunk by 60%, to just over $80 billion.
SpaceX’s success in winning the top spot not only dealt a heavy blow to Boeing’s morale, but also directly affected Boeing’s subsequent space operations. SpaceX is now significantly ahead of Boeing in NASA’s list of partners and is expected to take the big deal out of the big deals ahead. NASA’s moon landing sbid without a Boeing. To add to the blow, NASA announced a comprehensive safety audit of Boeing.
While SpaceX and Boeing’s rockets and spacecraft differ, SpaceX’s biggest competitive advantage in future commercial manned flights is saving money. SpaceX costs $55 million per seat, compared with $90 million for Boeing and $86 million per seat nasa pays Russia, according to NASA’s monitoring report. Boeing’s price is 60% higher than SpaceX’s.
SpaceX and Boeing are vying for more than just manned spaceflight. In 2014, SpaceX also announced a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force, accusing the Pentagon of unfair bidding for the rocket project, which is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which is led by United Launch Alliance, a military rocket system project. Eventually Musk reached a settlement with the U.S. Air Force, winning part of the Pentagon’s rocket contract.
Musk has already won the first round in a manned space battle with Boeing. In an interview with the media, he said aviation giants like Boeing were too arrogant and conceited to face less than $1bn and a sense of urgency to work efficiently.
Boeing’s official response was equally unconvinced. “Boeing was working with NASA to build the space station before Musk entered space. While others are talking about dream hopes, we’ve done a good job in space, and we’re going to deliver on our promise to help the U.S. achieve its goal of landing on Mars. “
Competition is the best driver of innovation. Just as the U.S.-Soviet rivalry in the 1960s was the direct driving force behind space competition, SpaceX’s rivalry with Boeing was the small backdrop for this landmark commercial space flight. Who knows whether the front-runners in the next round will be SpaceX, or Blue Origin, or Boeing?