• Can microwave-powered shuttles make space travel cheaper?

    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper

    How much does it take to launch a satellite? According to Rocket Lab's Peter Beck "You pretty much have to write a check for a billion dollars." Beck, along with Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are part of a new wave of inventors looking to make this cheaper by developing low cost or reusable rockets for launches. The folks at Escape Dynamics, however, have a very different idea about how to make trips to space economical for people who aren't multi-millionaires. The company claims that it's successfully tested the engine for a reusable spaceplane that, rather than being stuffed to the gills with expensive fuel, would glide into the stratosphere on a wave of microwave energy.