Tech Times reported on March 31 that SpaceX successfully launched a satellite into orbit with its first recycled rocket and discussed why the feat is such a huge deal, especially when it comes to space exploration.
Space-X had some spectaculars failures, but a 50-meter section of this booster rocket went into space a year ago, and then successfully landed on a platform at sea so it could fly again. The company just made history by actually achieving this goal with one of its Falcon 9 rockets when it delivered an SES satellite into space.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who also heads Tesla (TSLA), revealed in a press conference after the launch that along with landing the first stage of the rocket safely, the company also recovered the $6 million fairing. "It means you can fly and refly an orbital class booster which is the most expensive part of the rocket", he added.
"This is going to be ultimately a huge revolution in spaceflight", Musk continued. If you would recall, it was in December 2015 that SpaceX successfully launched a satellite into orbit before coming back to Earth and landing upright on a strip of landing pad in Cape Canaveral. "So it's its own little spacecraft", Musk said.
Perhaps the biggest tidbit is that SpaceX may try to recover the upper stage of the rocket during the launch.
The rocket launched from Florida and then returned on a platform in the ocean.
Now, with last Thursday's success, one of the company's pre-flown and landed Falcon 9 booster rockets launched off for a second mission from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Historically, rockets have been a single-use object - imagine the cost of commuting to work if you had to buy a new vehicle each day.
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The next level - bringing back more of the Falcon 9 Heavy.
There have been several other successful vertical landings, but none of these rockets had been reused until now.
SpaceX is developing a viable commercial launch ability, but Musk has not been shy about his ultimate goal of colonizing Mars. Combined with the nose cone, that's about 84 percent in savings of the original costs of the launch (fuel costs notwithstanding).
Thus, the typical cost of a SpaceX launch of $62 million might be reduced to $43 million - a considerable contribution to the satellite company's bottom line.
The possibility of reusing rockets has not been proven yet.
Longtime customer SES got a discount for agreeing to use a salvaged rocket, but wouldn't say how much. "It's taken us a long time [with a] lot of hard steps along the way".