Originally Posted by lordxar5
I know, new materials and fancy ideas but the big space agencies in Russia, the US, Europe, etc all have tried recoverable boosters and shuttle type vehicles so it shouldn't be as much of a scratch start thing.
You might think that, but it isn't true. The only real attempt at a reusable system was the Shuttle. As a first attempt it wasn't half bad, but it wasn't economically viable. There have been some other X type programs, most notably the DC-X, but nothing like this has been attempted before. What's exciting about what SpaceX is doing is they have built an economically viable expendable launcher, and are using the boosters on real flights to perform landing experiments. They have a great chance of landing a booster this year, and that would be the first time something had been done like this, ever. *IF* they can prove an economic benefit once they start recovering boosters by reusing them successfully, then it is a really big deal.
These companies like SpaceX and Virgin just feel like me when my dad and uncle would all go out and strap an Estes engine on various homemade works of art and see what flew and what cratered instead of the future of moving our species outside the atmosphere...lol I do find all of this fascinating so don't take my meandering complaints too seriously. Honestly though if I was going to either pay Russia to put me in orbit or one of these third parties I'd pay Russia and their stuff is like ghetto space compared to others...
You should not lump SpaceX and Virgin together. SpaceX now has 14 successful Falcon 9 launches to its credit, it has six successful space station deliveries and returned cargo from the space station on each attempt. Virgin has not accomplished very much at all.
Russia has a much more checkered launch success rate of late, actually...
Anyway, no more off-topic from me, I promise!