Tag Archives: CNES

Europe reconsiders reusability in its rockets

The competition heats up: Pressured by SpaceX, Europe has restarted a research program into developing a reusable first stage to its rockets.

The headline is actually an overstatement. The European managers quoted in the article actually spend most of their time explaining why trying to reuse a rocket’s first stage makes no sense, but they feel forced to reluctantly look into it anyway because of what SpaceX is doing with its Falcon 9.

This story makes me think of two blacksmiths around 1900. One poo-poos cars, saying that the repair cost is so high no one will ever buy them. He goes back to pounding horseshoes. The other decides that if he learns how to fix cars, he can turn his shop from fixing horseshoes to fixing cars, and make more money. Europe is the first blacksmith, while SpaceX is the second.

Which do you think is going to succeed?