5 Upcoming Reusable Rockets to Look Out For

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Space travel has always been a dream for many, but it has been a costly and risky endeavor. However, recent advances in technology have made it possible for reusable rockets to be developed, which could significantly reduce the cost and increase the safety of space travel.

In this article, we will be discussing five upcoming reusable rockets that are set to revolutionize the space industry.

Starship and Superheavy

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SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy, collectively known as Starship, stand out as a monumental leap in rocket technology, aiming to revolutionize space travel through its fully reusable design. The Starship system, which includes the Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy booster, represents the most powerful launch vehicle ever developed. With a height of 121 meters (397 feet) and a diameter of 9 meters (29.5 feet), it’s designed to carry up to 150 metric tonnes in a fully reusable configuration and up to 250 metric tonnes in an expendable setup. This capability makes it ideal for a wide range of missions, from satellite delivery to interplanetary voyages to Mars and beyond​​.

The system’s versatility extends to its configurations and intended missions. The Starship, serving as the second stage, is capable of carrying both crew and cargo. It offers an integrated payload section for various missions, including Earth orbit, lunar landings, and deep-space exploration. The spacecraft can also perform point-to-point transportation on Earth, promising to shorten international travel times to under an hour. The Super Heavy booster, powered by 33 Raptor engines using liquid methane and oxygen, is fully reusable, designed to return to Earth and land back at the launch site, showcasing SpaceX’s commitment to sustainability and cost reduction in space exploration​​​​.

New Glenn

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Blue Origin’s New Glenn is designed as a towering beacon of innovation in the realm of reusable rockets, setting the stage for a new era in space exploration. Named after John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, New Glenn is one of the largest and most ambitious projects under development by Blue Origin. With its first stage planned for a minimum of 25 flights, New Glenn emphasizes affordability and environmental consideration through its reusable design and the use of cleaner, high-performing liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas fuel. The rocket features a 7-meter diameter fairing, offering twice the volume of traditional five-meter class payload fairings, which enables a greater flexibility in payload deployment​​.

New Glenn stands over 320 feet (about 98 meters) tall and is equipped with seven BE-4 engines for its first stage, making it one of the most powerful rockets, second only to Saturn V’s F1 engines in terms of thrust from liquid oxygen/liquefied natural gas-fueled engines. Its second stage is powered by two BE-3U engines, optimized for high-performance missions to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) and low Earth orbit (LEO), capable of delivering more than 13 metric tons to GTO and 45 metric tons to LEO. This massive vehicle, built, integrated, launched, refurbished, and re-flown from Blue Origin’s facilities near Kennedy Space Center, represents a significant step towards the vision of millions of people living and working in space​​​​.

New Glenn’s development history dates back to 2012 with the start of the BE-4 engine development, evolving through various design stages to optimize its reusability and performance capabilities. Initially planned to support up to 100 flights, the current design aims for a minimum of 25 reuses, underscoring Blue Origin’s commitment to sustainability and cost-effectiveness in space launch services. Furthermore, with the ongoing development under “Project Jarvis” for a fully reusable upper stage, New Glenn is poised to become a fully-reusable launch vehicle, which would significantly reduce the cost per launch and enhance operational flexibility​​.



Neutron Facts LEO - 5 Upcoming Reusable Rockets to Look Out For

Rocket Lab’s Neutron rocket is set to be a game-changer in the realm of medium-lift launch vehicles, with a design that emphasizes reusability and efficiency. Standing at 43 meters (141 feet) with a 7-meter diameter, Neutron boasts a payload capacity of 13,000 kilograms to low Earth orbit (LEO), and it’s even capable of delivering 1,500 kilograms to Mars or Venus. Its design, featuring a carbon composite structure, is optimized for a wide range of missions, including satellite mega-constellation deployment, deep space missions, and eventually human spaceflight. The rocket employs a “return to launch site” method for its first stage and fairings, making both fully reusable and setting a precedent for sustainability in space launches​​​​.

A standout feature of Neutron is its propulsion system, powered by the new Archimedes engine, which uses a liquid oxygen/methane oxidizer rich closed cycle. The first stage includes nine Archimedes engines, demonstrating a total lift-off thrust of 6,800 kN, and the second stage is powered by a single vacuum Archimedes engine. This innovative engine design, combined with the rocket’s lightweight carbon composite structure, aims to streamline the production and launch processes, enhancing the vehicle’s reusability​​.

Rocket Lab’s approach with Neutron addresses the industry’s growing demand for reliable, cost-effective launch services tailored to the deployment needs of satellite constellations, as well as the requirements of deep space missions and human spaceflight. The rocket’s design incorporates several unique features, such as the ‘Hungry Hippo’ fairing mechanism, which allows the fairing to open and release the payload without detaching from the rocket, simplifying recovery and reuse processes. This, alongside the rocket’s tapered shape designed for stability and reusability, highlights Rocket Lab’s innovative solutions to traditional space launch challenges​​​​.

Terran r

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Terran R is a groundbreaking addition to the realm of reusable rockets, marking a significant step forward in the industry with its fully reusable, entirely 3D-printed design. Manufactured by Relativity Space, Terran R stands 216 feet tall, featuring a 16-foot diameter and a 5-meter payload fairing. What sets Terran R apart is its launch capability of up to 20,000 kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), all while being propelled by cutting-edge 3D-printed Aeon R rocket engines. The rocket is designed to meet the demands of both commercial and government entities for missions to LEO, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), and Geostationary Orbit (GEO), offering configurations for downrange landing and expendable launches. Its first stage reusability is prioritized, capable of carrying a significant payload to various orbits, with its design allowing for rapid reusability and operational efficiency​​​​.

Terran R’s development is a testament to Relativity Space’s innovative approach, leveraging 3D printing for reduced part count, increased innovation speed, and manufacturing flexibility. This approach not only enables more sustainable space exploration but also addresses the growing demand for satellite deployment capabilities. With Terran R, Relativity aims to bridge the supply-demand gap in the launch vehicle market, offering a more affordable, reliable solution for sending payloads into space. Its first launch is planned from Launch Complex 16 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Base starting in 2026, showcasing Relativity Space’s commitment to advancing space technology and contributing to the future of multiplanetary exploration​​​​.


rocket - 5 Upcoming Reusable Rockets to Look Out For

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing a cutting-edge reusable launch vehicle known as ADMIRE (Advanced Mission and Recovery Experiments), which is poised to be a significant leap forward in the realm of cost-effective space exploration. Unlike conventional rockets, ADMIRE is designed with a focus on Vertical Takeoff and Vertical Landing (VTVL) capabilities, echoing the innovative approaches of SpaceX’s Grasshopper and Falcon 9 rockets. This project aims to demonstrate ISRO’s capability in the recovery and reuse of launch vehicle stages, potentially reducing the cost and increasing the frequency of space missions​​​​.

ADMIRE is envisioned as a relatively compact two-stage rocket, equipped with advanced technologies such as supersonic retro propulsion, retractable landing legs that double as steerable grid fins, and an integrated navigation system featuring a laser altimeter and the NavIC GNSS receiver. This suite of technologies is intended to guide the vehicle back to its landing pad safely after mission completion. The development of ADMIRE represents a strategic move by ISRO to join the global race towards sustainable and reusable launch vehicles, alongside other space agencies and private entities. A test and landing site is specifically being developed for ADMIRE, underscoring ISRO’s commitment to this ambitious project​​​​.

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