Recycling makes space tourism cheaper
Most rockets are made up of several stages, which are detached, as the craft travels into space. The largest, most expensive part of the rocket is the first stage, that might account for some 80 % of the launch price. So far, the expensive rocket stages have been dumped into the ocean after one mission, making aerospace activities so expensive that space tourism has been impossible.
But now, engineers have allowed the rockets to steer safely down the atmosphere and land on a platform to be reused. One of them is the New Shepard rocket that will fly into space and detach a manned capsule. The six paying tourists will experience four minutes in a state of weightlessness and see Earths’ bend, before the capsule will once again head towards Earth carried by parachutes. The rocket’s first stage will slow down shortly before contact with Earth, landing softly to be readied for a new launch.
In 2015, New Shepard was the first rocket to land on Earth after a space mission.
A ring equipped withbraking fins unfolds, as the capsule above it is detached from the rocket in space. At the bottom, you will find the control fins. They are controlled by computers, which adjust the fins' orientation several time a second on the way down the atmosphere.