Have you ever watched a rocket blast off into space and thought about how much fun it would be to be able to take that trip yourself? Perhaps you’ve wondered why so many of these rocket ships are built for a single-use as opposed to being able to make the trip again and again. A lot of it comes down to the components that are used in most rockets. The trip to space can be hard enough on any vehicle used to get there, but it is the re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere that really does a number on most of these rocket ships. There’s so much heat and friction involved that most simply cannot be used more than one time. Fortunately, all of that is changing, thanks to the Mark II rocket ship from Dawn Aerospace. It marks the first time that a rocket ship has been privately designed with the specific idea in mind to reuse it multiple times. In fact, some people are saying that it can even make the trip several times a day.
Innovation At Its Finest
There is no doubt that this brand new rocket ship, the Mark II Aurora, holds a great deal of promise. Still in the testing phase, it follows on the heels of Blue Origin and the Virgin Atlantic rocket, with one major distinction. Once the rocket engine is installed early next year, it’s entirely possible that this particular rocket ship could ascend into space and then return to Earth, only to go back again in the same day. In fact, that is one of the major design points of this particular rocket ship and it looks like the company is on target to reach their goals.
Space Could Be In The Palm Of Your Hand
There are a lot of things that make this particular spaceplane, as Dawn Aerospace calls it, unique. The most obvious thing is that it looks a lot more like a commercial aircraft than anything else. It may not be as big as a lot of commercial airliners, but it definitely has that feel. Furthermore, it is designed to be more user-friendly than a lot of dedicated space vehicles. The company has designed it so that it can take off and land from a regular airstrip at a regular airport, just like any other aircraft. As long as the runway in question is long enough to support it’s required distances for takeoff and landing, it can be launched or retrieved from virtually any airport. That is a huge difference from the space modules that have been blasted off into space, only to splashdown in the ocean. In addition, this is a vehicle that is designed for multiple types of missions. It doesn’t just look like something directly from the future, it genuinely embodies that quality in every sense. The company readily admits that space tourism is on their radar, but not in the immediate future. After all, there is more testing that needs to be done before this particular aircraft is even ready to conduct its initial missions, which will be science-based. However, its airframe was designed with the idea of space tourism in mind so that the company can seamlessly move into that particular arena when the time is right.
One of the things that is so promising about this particular aircraft is that it has already completed five flights successfully. In each of those fights, the aircraft orbited roughly 60 miles above the Earth, easily reaching the suborbital realm. The idea is to gradually increase the distance so that it is going further and further into space. Once it is fully approved and it has the aforementioned rocket engine installed, it will initially be used to conduct atmospheric experiments of a scientific nature, most notably in support of the issues surrounding global warming. One of the things that makes this particular aircraft seem more sustainable than a few of the others out there is the fact that it is capable of taking off and landing horizontally, not vertically. Why does that make such a big difference? It all comes down to the money involved to launch a vehicle vertically, not to mention the fact that these particular aircraft don’t tend to be as reusable. There are certain parts of them that can be reused, to be sure. However, there are also an equal number of parts that have to be replaced after each launch. Obviously, it becomes an issue with cash flow very quickly. The companies that incorporate vehicles that are launched vertically have to have a constant influx of cash in order to keep operating them. The Mark II Aurora, on the other hand, operates much more like a traditional aircraft. The end result is that it takes a lot less money to keep this particular example flying than many of its competitors.
Plans For The Future
Of course, the company has plenty of plans for the future. This is only the first step in what will likely become one of the most unique pages of aviation history. The aircraft that currently exists is quite small in size, but the company is quick to point out that this is only the first aircraft that they’ve designed. They plan on following up with larger aircraft that can support a bigger payload in the next few years. Those vehicles will be able to carry satellites into space along with other complex material that is simply too large or too heavy for the current vehicle. As previously mentioned, there is the desire for them to move into the realm of space tourism at some point in the future. Clearly, one of their larger aircraft will be used for such purposes. Right now, it is safe to say that Dawn Aerospace is one of the more promising companies out there. They’ve done the research and they have something that is unique when it comes to a space plane that can operate like a typical aircraft. That fact alone makes their aircraft more versatile and far more cost-effective to operate, meaning that they are likely to be around for the long haul.