Comparing travelling to space in a rocket much like crossing the Atlantic using a catapult, The Conversation's Leon Vanstone opines that in order for humanity to explore the universe, it needs to find a better way to get into space, fast. One option may be the SKYLON spaceplane, a reusable vehicle capable of taking off and landing like a regular airplane, but sporting engines capable of taking it into orbit.
Being so inefficient means that the only way to get all your cargo to the height and speed you need via rocket is to jettison the empty fuel tanks as soon as they run dry. For this very reason, rockets are staged; that is, split into sections. When one section runs out of fuel, you can drop the weight of its empty container.
Very little of the rocket actually makes it to orbit, with most of the parts either crashed, burnt, or floating aimlessly in space. You can’t reuse it because you can barely get it there, let alone get it back.
|Initiative Wants to Listen for Alien Signals from Tabby's Star|
|Moon Express: Going Back to the Moon to Mine Its Resources|
|Study: Every Star in the Galaxy Has At Least One Orbiting Planet|
|“Humanity is most likely the only intelligent species in the Milky Way Galaxy at present.”|
|Everything You Wanted to Ask About NASA's EmDrive|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“Make it so. Make it so. Make it so.”|
|Make a Convincing Sex Video of Anyone You Like|
|“When Life Gives You Lemons.”|
|Naked Preacher Lady [NSFW]|
|“Can you replace the spring of a pogo stick with repelling magnets?”|
|“Many people say they’re resigned to the idea that we’re going to be spied on and there’s nothing we can do about it.”|
|“Initial riders may be more comfortable getting into a car with a human in the driver seat.”|