SpaceX successfully launches recycled rocket

Posted April 04, 2017

The feat marked an achievement that was once believed to be impossible.

"It is an awesome day, I think, for space (and) as whole for the space industry", Musk said in a video message after the launch. My mind is blown, frankly. He called it an "incredible milestone in the history of space" and predicted, "this is going to be a huge revolution in spaceflight".

The European satellite operator hailed Thursday's launch as "one step closer to rapid rocket reusability" and "one step closer to faster, easier access to space".

SpaceX founder Elon Musk applauded the unique double accomplishments of re-launching a used rocket and recovering the vehicle yet again as a radical step in his journey to slash launch costs and reduce intervals between space shots. Falcon Heavy is also designed from the onset to transport human beings into space and is expected to assist SpaceX in its future ambitious crewed missions to the Moon and Mars.

The slightly scuffed Falcon 9 rocket soared into the sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 6:27 pm (2227 GMT), on a mission to send a communications satellite for Luxembourg-based company SES into a distant orbit.

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Musk refused to tell the press what that mystery item was right after the launch, but SpaceX revealed the next day that there was a big wheel of cheese inside the Dragon - the Le Brouere variety, according to The LA Times. "So it's its own little spacecraft", Musk said. "The thrusters maintain its orientation as it re-enters and then. the parachute steers it to a particular location". "It was actually shockingly hard to go from single core to a triple-core vehicle". It sees the cost of a Falcon 9 ride at $62 million but has not yet declared a price for flying on a recycled rocket. It's estimated reusing the first stage booster of Falcon 9 as demonstrated last week should lead to a 30% cost reduction.

Speaking of which, the typical SpaceX launch costs around $62 million.

About 10 minutes later, the first stage, or booster, achieved a successful landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" droneship that was stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Falcon Heavy will be able to carry heavy payloads for customers like the Pentagon, but it's also important for the long-term goal of pushing further into the solar system", said Phil Larson, a space policy adviser to Barack Obama who worked for SpaceX and is now at the University of Colorado Boulder. The short term goal is to drop space launch costs to 10% of what they are today with a longer term goal of slashing costs to 1%.