Musk v. Bezos: The recyclable space race is on

0208_rocket-space-x_1200x675-1200x675By Alex Knapp | Forbes

Jeff Bezos’ spaceship company, Blue Origin, hit a new milestone in January, successfully landing the rocket that sent its New Shepard capsule into suborbital space–the same rocket the company had launched and landed in November. Not to be outdone, Elon Musk’s SpaceX in December successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket after it launched 11 satellites into orbit, a much harder task.

The recyclable space race is on. Until the 1980s little that was launched ever came back, save for those tiny astronaut capsules. The Space Shuttle brought recycling to a new level, but its refurbishment was so labor-intensive, requiring the inspection of every ceramic heat tile, that NASA saved far less.

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