Morning thought: Instead of bringing rockets' first stages back to Earth for reuse, what if we leave them in orbit where refined metals are scarce?


@trevorfsmith the first stage doesn’t usually have enough fuel for a stable orbit, I think the numbers favor it returning to the surface one way or another

@bonzoesc Yes, we currently design them that way. I wonder what sort of manufacturing and reuse facilities need to be in orbit in order for the cost of extra fuel to push the first stage into orbit is less than the cost of lifting new metal.

@bonzoesc Also, morning thoughts arrive before I'm fully awake so there's a good chance they make no sense. 😸

@trevorfsmith I’ve heard that spacex mostly saves money on the intensely expensive to build engines, like unless they get a lot cheaper to build that’s more a hold-up than fuel and raw materials

@bonzoesc That makes sense. I wonder when/if we'll have enough manufacturing capability in orbit to be able to either repurpose the engines for use in vacuum or turn them into useful parts that we choose to keep in orbit instead of sending the engine back down. Also, maybe we can reduce the resources needed to build engines on Earth.

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