If Elon Musk and SpaceX hit the targets for the Starhopper and the SpaceX Starship then SpaceX will have accelerated rocket development by about four times. This would be accelerating the rate of technological progress to ten to twenty times faster than most of their competition. This is the scary thing for competitors to SpaceX. SpaceX continues to get more ambitious with its rockets and is accelerating its rate of progress. Technology and Space enthusiasts can celebrate that this faster rate of development will mean that the world will get the space program that we have always wanted.
From Grasshoppers tests and then Orbit and Back
SpaceX reusable first stage rocket program was publicly announced in 2011. SpaceX first achieved a successful landing and recovery of a first stage in December 2015. SpaceX started Grasshopper tests on September 2012 and completed the Grasshopper tests on October, 2013. The SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable Development Vehicle, or F9R Dev, was announced in October 2012. Tests were performed from April to August 2014. The first landing test of a first stage Falcon 9 was September 2013 on the sixth flight of a Falcon 9 and maiden launch of the v1.1 rocket version. From 2013 to 2016, sixteen test flights were conducted, six of which achieved a soft landing and recovery of the booster: * Flight 20 (Orbcomm OG2 M2) safely touching down on the LZ-1 ground pad upon first attempt in December 2015; * Flight 23 (CRS-8) finally achieving a stable landing at sea in the Atlantic on the drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You in April 2016 after four previous attempts ended in destruction of the booster upon impact; * Flights 24 (JCSAT-14) and 25 (Thaicom 8) returning at higher speed from GTO missions at sea on a drone ship in May 2016; * Flight 27 (CRS-9) returning to LZ-1 in July 2016; * Flight 28 (JCSAT-16) landing on a drone ship in August 2016; Since the January 2017 return to flight, SpaceX has stopped referring to landing attempts as experimental. Elon Musk and SpaceX mentioned the Falcon Heavy in 2005. The Falcon Heavy had a successful first flight in February 2017. There was significant work, redesign and ground testing from 2008 through 2016.