SpaceX makes history by re-using rocket

Delia Watkins
April 2, 2017

Mr Musk's United States aerospace company, SpaceX, successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket at Florida's historic Kennedy Space Centre on Thursday. But the Falcon 9's relaunch marks the first time an orbital rocket has launched to space for a second time.

Previously, Falcon 9's first stage previously launched successfully the CRS-8 mission in April 2016.

But after the first stage completed its work and descended to a landing on an ocean platform, Elon Musk said he was rendered almost speechless.

The Kremlin is confident Russia's state-run space agency can compete with the most ambitious companies in the field, including Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Recovery and reuse of rocket components will, in the short term, allow SpaceX to offer lower rates to satellite launch clients.

The company plans up to six more flights of recycled boosters this year, including two that will strapped alongside a third, new first-stage for the debut test flight of a heavy-lift rocket. Musk wrote on Twitter Thursday night that his next goal is to launch and land the same rocket twice within 24 hours. It's also important to note that space rockets and space shuttles are two different things, as NASA has had reusable shuttles for a long time.

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Engineers will now examine the rocket and decide if it's able to use the rocket for another launch. "That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionise access to space", Mr Musk said on the company's website.

(Musk) "Fly and re-fly an orbit-class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket".

Thursday's launch marked a huge step toward that goal. Combined with the nosecone, thats about 84 percent in savings of the original costs of the launch (fuel costs notwithstanding).

Closely held SpaceX builds its rockets and engines in-house, wagering that this strategy better enables constant improvements, as well as greater collaboration between design and manufacturing.

Musk said the booster that flew Thursday underwent extensive refurbishment prior to launching again, and that it will be donated to NASA to put on display at Cape Canaveral.

Falcon 9's second stage, which now still is expendable or single use, also succeeded in its mission to send the SES-10 satellite to a geostationary transfer orbit.

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