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Fara Shippee

Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona | Graduation Date: Spring 2020
Mechincal Engineering Systems

Investigating the Practicality of Reusable First Stage Rockets

Mentor: Joshua Loughman
FURI: Fall 2018

The aim of this research is to evaluate the cost efficiency of reusable first stage rockets such as the Falcon 9. The cost of space travel is currently astronomical. A reusable first stage rocket seemingly has the potential to decrease this cost, which would open new doors into space exploration, design, and education. However, the cost of retrofitting, repairing, and re-testing these rockets may actually be higher than the cost of building a new one. By asking whether a reusable first stage actually saves any money, we can avoid technological lock-ins which make space less accessible.