The Falcon 9 project is an attempt by a lot of independent thinkers to bring forth technologies that can be reused. The operators of the project Space X, has in their efforts to introduce the concept of a reusable spacecraft been successful to a large extent in bringing about the very idea of a reusable craft into space flight a reality. But these are very early days in this space and a lot of work has still to be done to make the final dream of the promoters a reality.
The Limitations of Expendable Space Craft
From the very start of space programs in most countries, the role of a reusable space craft was never given much importance. This was due to the fact that the early space flights did not involve humans that needed to be brought back to earth safely and it was more or less as set of instruments that were sent out. This did serve the early purpose of studying space and its outer limits.
As the journeys to outer space involved people and the fact that they needed to be brought back safely to earth changed the very dynamics of the space program. But the concept of an expendable space craft that could be reused simply did not click with the early designers of the space programs.
In many ways it was more the young space techniques that put severe limitations on the material and products that were in use for space flight that brought about such thinking. NASA took to itself develop a reusable space craft after realizing that the future of space flight would need more manned travel than otherwise. Thus the space shuttle program was born.
The Advantages of a Reusable Space Craft like Falcon 9
There were a number of advantages to having a reusable space craft that people seriously started to think of ways of achieving this goal. Participants like Space X without the backing of any sovereign state made up the short fall of finance by innovative thinking. Some very talented people that would normally have been stymied in a more formal development set up found their calling in many ventures like these and this brought about a new thinking in space and its encounters.
Principally a reusable craft brought the advantages of cost of operation of a space program. In the very early stages of space flight the cost of matter jettisoned was lower than the money needed to bring back parts of a space craft back to base. This changed with lowering of technological costs and the affordability of space travel to a lot more people and countries than before.
The second factor that brought about a more acceptance of reusable technology was the need for faster turnaround times between flights. A reusable space craft would make a big difference in this aspect of space travel and this is what drove the push to reusable space crafts and made it a reality.