The space frontier can’t be settled with throwaway rockets and spacecraft. Last month’s Crew-2 mission to the space station showed that it’s possible to re-fly components on missions with people aboard, but the flight also illuminated the great care that SpaceX and NASA had to take to achieve this first. Refinements in processes will be needed to achieve longer-term cost savings without adding unacceptable risk. Ben Iannotta and Cat Hofacker report.
Thirty-five thousand kilometers is a long way up, and that’s the home of nearly 400 satellites that do anything from sending and receiving telephone, internet and television signals to spotting missile launches. Today, those satellites can’t be repaired, upgraded, refueled or rescued if their propulsion fails.