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The tech we need for Deep Space exploration

SpaceX vehicle

Reusable rockets could slash the cost of space travel by 90%. Image credit: SpaceX

Launch systems that return their expensive first stages back to Earth to be re-used – possibly in a matter of hours – could be one of our generation's biggest legacies to space travel. It may have landed too hard back in January 2015, and had a catastrophic failure soon after launch in June 2015, but SpaceX appears to be on the cusp of successfully returning a Falcon 9 rocket to Earth (the demo rocket's descent remains an awesome sight).

SpaceX's immediate aim is to launch a Dragon capsule to the ISS safely – it's already done that six times – and then land a Falcon 9 properly on a drone ship in the ocean for recovery and reuse. The next attempt is in mid-December 2015; if it succeeds we can all start dreaming about space travel again.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),