SpaceX's Gwynne Shotwell Hints at Cheaper Rockets and the More Powerful Falcon Heavy

Reuse, not refurbish, is the SpaceX Falcon 9 motto.


Space travel doesn’t come cheap — it’s more than $50 million, all told, for a 10-day trip to the International Space Station.

The ability to cut costs through reuse, along with nail-biting launch live-streams, is prime reason for SpaceX’s existence. To hear it from the mouth of Gwynne Shotwell, the president of SpaceX, the prices are heading even lower — up to 30 percent off of what they are now! That’s a spaceflight steal.

Speaking at the Satellite 2016 conference in Maryland on Wednesday, Shotwell laid out a roadmap for SpaceX’s future: 16 more launches this year, bringing the total to 18, and as many as 30 in 2017. If reusing the first rocket stage can be done for $3 million, then the total could fall to about $40 million, Shotwell said, reported SpaceNews.

She wants SpaceX to get away from the idea of refurbishment to straight reuse, lauding the remarkably little degradation of the Falcon 9 rocket recovered in November 2015. Almost exactly a year from that event, SpaceX will launch a new type of Falcon rocket, Shotwell said — the Falcon Heavy:

The Falcon Heavy, according to SpaceX, is the “world’s most powerful rocket,” capable of delivering a payload equal to the weight of a 737 jet into orbit.

For another glimpse of SpaceX’s future, here’s Shotwell at the FAA Commercial Space Transportation back in February (she begins speaking at the 2 hour, 45 minute mark).

This is all very exciting, but we’re still holding our breath for the explosive video deets of Monday’s too-hard Falcon Rocket landing.