SpaceX, the pioneering force behind reusable rocket technology, has already proven to the world that single-use rockets will one day be a thing of the past, but the company clearly isn’t done honing its recovery and refurbishing techniques. Head man, and possible future super hero sent back in time to usher humanity into a new technological golden age, Elon Musk revealed his company’s plans for the immediate future of its first stage rocket reuse program. It seems that Musk has some seriously insane plans for shortening the turnaround between a rocket’s launch recovery and its subsequent flights, and he wants the whole process to take less than 24 hours.
Speaking at the ISS R&D event today, Musk spoke about SpaceX’s targeted 24-hour turnaround time which he hopes to achieve as soon as 2018. He noted that the plans are already in place for making that epic feat a reality, and expanded on the notion that recovering the first stage of the rocket is really just the beginning.
The fairing, which sits at the very top of the rocket and provides some aerodynamic stability while also offering protection of the payload as it launches into space, is a rather pricey piece of hardware. Coming in at between $5 million and $6 million, the component is potentially salvageable, and Musk revealed that SpaceX is getting closer than ever to landing and recovering the fairing for refurbishing as well. Likewise, the company plans on trying to recover the second stage of the rocket in certain circumstances as well, which would further reduce cost and speed up launch timelines.