Governmental organizations used to be the only ones allowed to explore space. First, the USSR (later Russia)and the USA competed to be the first to land a person on the moon. Later, additional nations joined the fray. More than a dozen nations have space programs now, many of which are capable of launch, and a smaller portion are cooperating on big projects like the International Space Station, as stated in the World Population Review. But today, governments are no longer the only ones who can access space. According to The Washington Post, commercial organizations regularly launch satellites, and a few businesses have set their sights on space exploration that rivals NASA’s.
The discussion of non-governmental space exploration has been dominated by Blue Origin and SpaceX, both of which were established in the early 2000s. These businesses have made enormous progress in realizing what many would have viewed as a pipedream. Let’s examine the 20-year trajectory of these space business giants.
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin vs. SpaceX private racing battle is intimately related to the space accomplishments of the twenty-first century. The two richest people on the earth are currently engaged in a rivalry that has helped humanity conquer black matter more successfully in recent years than it had in the previous 20 years. SpaceX and Blue Origin are still setting the standard for private space today, and they serve as an inspiration for a large number of new entrepreneurs to enter the space race. In an effort to determine which company is superior, SpaceX or Blue Origin, Orbital Today has compiled a chronicle of the conflict between the two “sworn foes”.
Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos established Blue Origin, a business that seeks to democratize space travel, in 2000. He founded the business to open up access to space flights. Blue Origin began creating reusable rockets to reduce the exorbitant cost of space travel. The first single-launch system in use was expensive and a barrier to mainstream space exploration. The corporation emerged from the shadows with a few successful launches after years of labor. The company has ambitions to launch rockets and go to far-off places even though it started slowly and has just reached the edge of space.
Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002. He was one of the most well-known individuals in the technology sector, and many people believe that he served as the model for Tony Stark from Iron Man. Musk founded SpaceX to lower the cost of space travel. Unlike Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Elon Musk has no intention of concealing his ambitions, which include colonizing Mars and building the first reusable spacecraft ever. SpaceX has established itself as a significant participant in the commercial space sector thanks to its reliable launch capabilities. The Starlink satellite program, an effort to bring internet access to areas with limited connection launched 31 satellites in 2021.
The Battle Starts
SpaceX launched the Falcon 1 in its first test flight four years after the company’s founding. Unfortunately, a gasoline leak caused the flight to crash land. However, the spacecraft was finally launched into orbit the following year, in 2008. Falcon 1 was retired to make room for Falcon 9 when SpaceX demonstrated its ability to launch into orbit. The starship from “Star Wars” inspired the names of both Falcon rockets. The Merlin 9 engines are another name for the numerical designator for the rockets. NASA’s Cape Canaveral in June 2010 launched the Falcon 9 on a mission that was partially funded by the government organization. Since then, SpaceX has made more than 80 flights and is regarded as a major player in contemporary spaceflight.
Blue Origin launched the New Shepard rocket from Texas on April 29, 2015. The journey, which reached a height of 307,000 feet and was named after Alan Shepard, the first American to fly into space, might have been a success if not for a significant issue. The loss of hydraulic pressure caused the rocket’s propulsion system to malfunction. Due to the lack of recoverable propulsion systems on rockets at the time, this loss would not have been seen as a failure. Although losing a portion of their rocket was not as things were intended to go, the aim was to create reusable rockets.
Blue Origin successfully completed a second test flight in 2015 after running into a technical problem during the initial test flight. Without any problems, the rocket touched down on the earth. By this time, a competition between SpaceX and Blue Origin to be the first business to successfully recover a rocket for reuse had begun. Blue Origin was able to surpass SpaceX’s previous record despite the fact that SpaceX is renowned for its reusable Dragon 9 rockets. The first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was successfully recovered less than a month after Blue Origin accomplished this feat.
Blue Origin had mainly concentrated on suborbital flights up to this moment. But in 2019, the business widened its goals and created a lunar lander. It unveiled a full-scale replica of the Blue Moon spacecraft at a gathering where Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO of Amazon, was present. The lander could be used for unmanned moon surface missions. The U.S. government awarded Blue Origin and its collaborators a $579 million contract in 2020 to create a lunar landing system. However, SpaceX, not Blue Origin, will be in charge of handling the lander for NASA’s upcoming human spaceflights.
After the U.S. space shuttle program was shut down in 2011, the nation lost its ability to launch astronauts from its homeland. The Soyuz spacecraft’s whole crew was launched from Russia. NASA began concentrating on the creation of technology that would restore the ability to launch from the United States. The Demo-2 flight helped the agency reach its target in 2020. Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were transported by this voyage on May 30, 2020, to the International Space Station. This was the Crew Dragon spacecraft’s final test flight by SpaceX.
Since that time, SpaceX has launched a number of missions to the ISS, some of which included larger crews. The company’s ability to conduct human spaceflights safely was demonstrated by the Crew Dragon’s successful mission. By working with NASA, SpaceX has advanced in the reusable rocket market. They not only succeeded in producing this apparatus, but they also regularly use it to further human spaceflight endeavors.
Musk has embraced an aggressive strategy for SpaceX to seek attention through hazardous innovation, in contrast to the conservative Bezos. Musk’s childhood fantasy of colonizing other planets, particularly Mars, might become a reality thanks to the launch vehicles SpaceX has been creating. These vehicles could also drastically lower the cost of putting cargo into orbit. SpaceX’s relentless work ethic helped them gain the confidence of the public and private sectors fast, resulting in multibillion-dollar venture capital investments and significant government contracts for the company.
Despite the fact that the first SpaceX effort was unsuccessful in 2006 when the SpaceX Falcon One rocket’s first test sample crashed, four months later, SpaceX was awarded a NASA contract under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program and received $400 million in funding in total for the development of a new rocket.
SpaceX just needed two years to iron out the kinks and launch a Falcon 1 payload into orbit. It then required another two years to enter the market with the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the Dragon cargo ship to transfer payloads to the International Space Station. As a result, SpaceX was able to enter into contracts with both NASA and the US Air Force. Later, upgrades of the Crew Dragon passenger spacecraft and the super-heavy SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle were created.
In the early stages of development, it appeared that SpaceX was more interested in planet-wide exploration whereas Blue Origin was more interested in space tourism. However, both businesses have demonstrated that they are able to accomplish their objectives. In this titanic struggle, SpaceX has quickly proven itself to be a viable commercial spaceflight enterprise.
SpaceX has a sizable lead over Blue Origin due to the volume of flights it has successfully performed, including those to the International Space Station. Indeed, SpaceX’s participation in the next missions of NASA’s Artemis spacecraft solidifies the business’s status as the world’s leading private space company. The battle between these two businesses has ultimately increased the feasibility of space flight, which is a victory for humanity.
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