SpaceX successfully re-launches 'used' rocket

So far, SpaceX's recovery efforts have been focused on the Falcon 9's first stage, which has at this point returned to Earth a half-dozen times in dramatic landings on both ocean platforms and land sites. But current work-in-progress on the first stage Falcon 9 rocket is being done so that each vehicle is designed for 10 or more launches, and this iteration will be flying later this year. A company named SpaceX successfully reused a rocket to launch a satellite into space.

FILE - SpaceX founder Elon Musk speaks during the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Sept. 27, 2016.

The first stage represents the most expensive part of the rocket, according to Musk. "This is going to be, hopefully, a huge revolution in spaceflight".

Yesterday's mission was the first time when a used rocket was successfully re-launched.

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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. These are essential for precisely and safely landing the rocket back on Earth, such as on SpaceX's moving unmanned barge in the Atlantic Ocean. The Falcon Heavy is the higher variant of the Falcon 9 launch vessel and is made of a common Falcon 9 rocket core, with two extra strap-on boosters, anchored in the first stage of Falcon 9 rocket. During the demo, the company might also include an attempt to reland and retrieve the upper stage of the rocket.

SpaceX — which aims to launch up to six reused boosters this year, two of them with the yet-to-fly, super-sized Falcon Heavy in late summer — is familiar with uncharted territory.

Given this, the only part of the Falcon 9 that isn't being recovered is the smaller second stage. The fireball destroyed the not only the rocket, but also the Amos-6 commercial satellite, and significantly damaged the pad.

The relaunch testing is also a step toward achieving Musk's larger goal of inhabiting Mars. Combined with the nose cone, that's about 84 percent in savings of the original costs of the launch (fuel costs notwithstanding). It nailed another vertical landing at sea Thursday once it was finished boosting the satellite for the SES company of Luxembourg. "I always said, 'We're not.'" he told reporters after Thursday's launch. That is an incredible technical feat, but what has everyone's attention is the fact hundreds of millions of dollars can be saved by reusing rockets. "We want to make sure that whoever we take can come back".

  • Ronnie Bowen