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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Paypal Founder Close to Cheap Rockets

A Falcon rocket by SpaceX.
A Falcon rocket by SpaceX.
Credit: Florida Today
Within a year, the cost of launching payloads into space may drop dramatically.

Or so says Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, and more recently, SpaceX. His company plans on launching commercial payloads with their two new rockets for as little as $6 million for light payloads to $18 million for payloads equivalent to a Delta II or Delta IV-Medium. That's about a 70% in reduction of cost.

The reasons why he is doing it are even better. The company, if it succeeds, will make money. That's not the issue for the philantropist, though. His goal is not only to make space launches inexpensive, but to make them inexpensive for his original goal: a biosphere to land on Mars, at a tiny price tag of $20 million. This is in conjunction with his cooperation with the Mars Society to launch a spacecraft to test long-term human adjustment to low gravity situations, and his dream of eventually colonizing--and terraforming--Mars. Musk may just represent the private interest that Mars enthusiasts have been hoping for for decades.

(More info: Florida Today,, SpaceX)

- posted by Brian @ 14:34 EST