Russia has traditionally held the market on rockets. They are the only country that has delivered people to and from the ISS. They use the Russian Soyuz to accomplish these joint tasks. This may be the reason Russian and NASA personnel play so well together in space. But this may all be coming to a close very soon. SpaceX continues to make and launch rockets with NASA’s support. Both physically and through funding. SpaceX has the Falcon 9 rocket, which is pretty great. They also have the Dragon spacecraft. Combined, they are similar to the Russian Soyuz. And maybe even better. SpaceX may have declared an unintentional space war against the Russian Soyuz rocket and spacecraft. Is China going to get involved too, or will China focus on the moon instead?
SpaceX Has Launching Aspirations
The private space company ran by Elon Musk has made some pretty impressive strides in space travel. SpaceX has created the Falcon 9 and Dragon for future ISS personnel delivery and a possible mission to Mars. This would put the Russian Soyuz out of the space travel business. I am sure NASA has been paying a pretty penny for the Russian Soyuz to transport NASA astronauts back and forth fro the ISS in recent years. But SpaceX plans to change all that. They have plans to launch 18 rockets before years end. That is a rocket every few weeks. This also includes the Falcon Heavy.
Russian Soyuz vs. Falcon 9
The Russian Soyuz has been in service since the 1960s. It may not be the most innovative piece of space machinery. But it is the most reliable. This makes it a go to rocket and spacecraft for most countries with personnel on the ISS. As the Falcon 9 continues to have success, the Russian Soyuz will be unchartered. NASA has a big investment in SpaceX. This could be the reason. Why pay the Russians for a service you can get at home? The private space company is launching so many rockets, they are actually running out of “space” at the Kennedy Space Center. This has become a growing concern for Musk. But a good problem to have.
Where is China?
China may not be so interested in the Falcon 9 or Russian Soyuz. They essentially have their own space ambitions. It doesn’t matter to them how their personnel gets to the ISS, since they have to pay for the service anyway. China is also more interested in a lunar landing, rather than the ISS and Mars. They have plans to explore the dark side of the moon, land, and maybe even colonize. China may also have its own Flacon 9, but no one has seen it yet.