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.
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."
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace