In "Space Titans," a new documentary launching today (Nov. 4), SpaceX founder Elon Musk shares the secret of his company's Falcon 9 rocket success.
The billionaire Musk, standing nearby one of his rockets, says — perhaps unsurprisingly — that his Falcon 9's reusability is the key to its success. "The closer we get to full and rapid reusability, that's really what opens up a lot of potential in space," he says in an exclusive clip provided to Space.com.
"Space Titans" debuts today on the streaming service Discovery+ and features glimpses inside companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic as they pursue new commercial opportunities opening up in space, ranging from space tourism flights to space taxis for NASA. The documentary was created in partnership with The Washington Post, which is owned by Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, and staff writer Christian Davenport.
Related: Discovery Channel's 'Who Wants To Be An Astronaut' will launch a contest winner into orbit
SpaceX has framed reusability as a metric that will allow it to reduce the cost of access to space for a long-term plan to send people to Mars. Other space companies featured in the documentary have ambitious plans a little closer to Earth.
This past summer, both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic (founded by billionaire Richard Branson) sent their first crewed missions into suborbital space, although the opportunity remains open only for the super-rich or the well-connected for the time being. (A seat aboard Virgin Galactic now costs $450,000, and it is unclear how much Blue Origin will charge.)
The documentary also shows how NASA is increasing commercial participation on the International Space Station; indeed, the clip shows Demo-2, which carried two astronauts into orbit, making a historic docking at the orbiting complex in 2020.
With NASA hoping to place humans on the moon later in the 2020s, the documentary said that the "Space Titans" can help with that journey. "
This is the moment in time that these space titans have been building towards for decades," the press release states. "Old and new companies are pushing the boundaries with their limitless dreams. It’s a moment fueled by imagination, innovation, and colossal rockets — taking us into the final frontier of private space travel for all."
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.