Space travel will hinge on one key factor: the reusability of rockets, Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of Space Exploration Technologies, said Tuesday.
"It's critical to move life to other planets. You can't imagine what would air travel be like if you tossed the aircraft flying from Los Angeles to New York. It would be very expensive; it would be incredibly prohibitive, so it's critical for us to have human access for recoverability," Shotwell told CNBC's "Squawk Alley."
Shotwell added that the Elon Musk-founded company will recover one of its rockets, and relaunch it, this year.
SpaceX, however is not the only competitor within the reusable-rocket market. On April 13, United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, unveiled the Vulcan, a reusable rocket.
"We have years of experience on the recoverability and the reusability [of rockets]. Though it's great to see others follow in our footsteps, I think it's going to be hard to catch us," Shotwell said.