For example, both of the stages the Falcon 9 rocket undergoes during launch are reusable. The stages are equipped with parachutes designed to bring the components to a gentle sea landing. A marinized coating is also equipped to resist salt water corrosion.
Why is it necessary to produce reusable rocketry? Space travel isn't cheap, and SpaceX has to go out and secure funding on their own. NASA, on the other hand, has much larger budgets that come from the US government. Concern for economics isn't as focused.
For SpaceX, getting anything off the ground requires the most efficient use of resources. There is a lot of excitement in this sector with Musk's company. They are serious about being a space travel company--employees doubled every year since 2002. Musk has even put down $100 million dollars of his own money.
Privatized space travel is looking like a much more viable option considering the recent ending of the shuttle program and NASA's continued budget cuts. With NASA left in a slight limbo stage, they have committed to funding private companies such as SpaceX. Back in 2008, SpaceX won a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.
The next step for SpaceX is to get their Dragon space capsule into orbit carrying humans. In 2010, a Dragon mockup was sent into space and successfully orbited the earth twice before coming back down. SpaceX says that within this decade they will send humans up to the ISS.
If everything goes successfully, Mars is next. The plans are already underway. We at TRANSLOGIC hope that a great man's greatest fear does great for all of man.
Click the image below to watch TRANSLOGIC 76: Elon Musk Interview, SpaceX: