July 28, 2021

The decrease in launch costs

The launch cost is reducing, and space law is emerging. Like a decade ago, NASA’s moon program was cancelled by Obama Administration to allow the building of a heavy booster with a cost of $36 billion and would have taken over ten years. A few years later, the booster was developed by the visionary Elon Musk’s SpaceX using 1/30th of the cost and half of the time with the vehicle been essentially reusable. For over 50 years now, the orbit launch cost has been around $10000 per kilogram, but SpaceX has lowered the prices to $2000 per kilogram after developing the reusable Falcon series. The way things are, shortly, the cost would lower down to $200 per kilogram.

SpaceX spends about $1.2 to 1.5 billion annually. When we do simple calculations, if SpaceX carries out 30 launches per year, it would charge $40 to 50 million per launch for it to break even. In case SpaceX carries out 300 launches annually, the cost of carrying a single launch would fall to $4 to 5 million.

There are many space applications been developed and are in different stages. This means that in a short period to come, a space revolution would occur. Hypercubes help to give hyperspectral data for various industries on Earth. The majority of space startups are operating day and night to ensure that all people worldwide are connected to the internet. Some of these companies include Starlink, OneWeb, and O3B, among others, are sending smallsats to orbit to make sure that the world gets fast and reliable internet speeds.

The Planet, the world’s first Earth Observation platform, is doing a great job, helping various sectors like energy, manufacturing, agriculture, and intelligence. The Blackbridge obtained by Planet has enabled it to have superior capabilities of extreme precision in agriculture, such as field-wise, crop-wise, and providing day-wise rich data that help protect farmers and food security.

In 2030, many companies aspire to develop a fully reusable orbital-class launch system that can be used to deliver passengers from one place to another on Earth’s surface within a span of an hour at relatively more costly than a first-class aeroplane ticket. Its high time India grabs all the upcoming opportunities since space means business, just as it did by making an IT revolution to be. Therefore, it must nourish and develop a space industry and ecosystem since it has a strong foundation, thanks to the ISRO and space scientists.