Save the Date! SpaceX Set to Launch First Reused Rocket Into Space
SpaceX will make history by re-launching a used rocket this week. Elon Musk's commercial space flight company has been mastering the art of landing rockets on solid ground and on drone ships in order to execute its dream of reusing rockets to lessen the cost of space flights.
After successful retrieval and landing of Falcon 9 rockets, it looks like SpaceX is ready for the next step -- to reuse them. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell announced at the Satellite 2017 conference that the company would launch and re-use a Falcon 9 rocket this month.
The reusable Falcon 9 was tested last Monday, March 27. The scheduled re-launch will take place on Thursday, March 30, from the historical NASA Complex 39A launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to Inverse.
The refurbished rocket will carry a Luxembourg SES SA satellite into orbit. If this move turns out to be a success, it will greatly accelerate SpaceX's goal of cutting down the cost of space flights.
"SpaceX has been working on re-usability since the get go," SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement. "In order to make that work, you need to inspect it and make sure it is ready to fly again. Once we get really good at that, there will be downward pressure on price."
But SpaceX won't be reusing just one but five reusable Falcon 9 rockets this year. SpaceX holds the title of the first company to launch and retrieve a rocket and land it at sea, and is on its way to make another record, to reuse rockets.
Landing and retrieval of rockets have since become a skill for the commercial space flight company. After successfully showcasing their skill in landing rockets on solid ground, they moved to landing the spacecraft to floating drone ships at sea. Although there were rocket casualties along the way, the company's ability to land and recover the spacecraft is undeniable.
Reports say that SpaceX mastered drone ship landing since it will require lesser fuels on board compared to landing on launch pads where the mission began. Lesser fuel for landing means more fuel can be used to launch heavier payload.