Space X gears up for groundbreaking March 30 launch

Posted March 30, 2017

And the cargo is the SES-10 satellite, which is meant to provide communications services to Latin America. SpaceX said that it has completed static launch tests on a Falcon 9 on Monday, as it aims for a launch on Thursday. Their next rocket launch, scheduled for Thursday night, will be the very first to reuse a Falcon 9 booster that has already made the trip to space and back. Up until now, practically all rockets that can achieve orbit are either destroyed or go unrecovered after each mission. A successful mission by Musk and his team would open the door to many more possibilities in space exploration. Indeed, the Falcon 9 rocket set to be launched is the same that was used in the company's historic mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also interested in reusable rockets, and engineers from his company Blue Origin are attempting to design them.

The rocket originally flew in April 2016 before landing successfully on an unmanned drone ship bobbing in the Atlantic Ocean. After each launch, SpaceX tries to save just the first stage of its vehicles.

Being able to re-use the rocket booster rather than having to make new ones from scratch could have an vast impact on the cost of successive launches.

In a tweet shared by the SpaceX's official Twitter handle, the company announced the date of its first reusable Falcon 9 rocket flight.

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Liftoff from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center is targeted for 6:27 p.m. EDT (GMT-5), the opening of a two-and-a-half hour window. "We were the first commercial mission to fly on SpaceX, and now we're here to be the first ever mission to fly on a pre-flown booster". It is the first stage I.e. the 14-story-tall main body of the Falcon 9 of the rocket that contains the primary engines and most of the fuel that is being reused.

SpaceX thinks it can make the math work in its favor in terms of the costs of refurbishing and redeploying rockets, and that could eventually lead to a discount for customers willing to take advantage of "pre-loved" rockets.

Braun says there have been attempts to reuse rockets before, most notably the space shuttle, which could be relaunched multiple times. They've gotten the landing part right, but what about launching a rocket for a second time?

There is a 70 percent chance for favorable launch conditions Thursday, U.S. Air Force weather officials said. Perched atop the rocket is the new SES-10 communications satellite, which is headed for geostationary orbit, around 36,000 kilometres away from Earth. If this move turns out to be a success, it will greatly accelerate SpaceX's goal of cutting down the cost of space flights. Ideally, the turnaround time between launch and landing should be pretty brief, involving a quick checkout of the booster and refueling before its next launch.