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SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Proudly Stands on Display In Hawthorne HQ

Aug 23, 2016 06:51 AM EDT
SpaceX: The Privately Funded Aerospace Company Founded By Elon Musk
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - APRIL 8: In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), SpaceXs Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lift off from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for their eighth official Commercial Resupply (CRS) mission on April 8, 2016 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(Photo : NASA via Getty Images)

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket booster is now a monument, standing proudly outside the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, SpaceFlightNow reports.

The rocket booster was positioned vertically by SpaceX crew on Saturday on the intersection of Crenshaw Blvd. and Jack Northrop Ave., southeast of SpaceX's main building. The booster-turned-monument can be seen from Interstate 105, which is the closest freeway to SpaceX, Tesla's Design Studio and the Los Angeles Supercharger.

The 156-feet-tall rocket stage landed at Cape Canaveral, Florida in December last year where it originally launched with 11 Orbcomm communications satellites. It made history as the first time SpaceX successfully completed a vertical first stage landing. The rocket also marked a significant step towards the company's goal of building reusable rockets.

"If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred," Elon Musk, SpaceX chief executive, said.

"A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space.

SpaceX crew cleaned off the soot that deposited on the stage's body when it landed, repainted the logos and replaced most of its nine Merlin engines with stripped-down versions, making the vehicle look as good as new.

"It's kind of unique. It's the first one we brought back," Elon Musk, SpaceX chief executive, said in a statement after the stage landed in December 2015.

The Falcon 9 rocket booster joins SpaceX's first Dragon capsule, which launched into orbit in 2010, hanging inside the lobby.

After the recovery, SpaceX has successfully landed five Falcon 9 stages. The second launcher to be recovered landed in April 8 on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, and is assigned to be the first rocket to fly a second time. The company has been working hard to perfect the landings so that it can reuse the recovered stages, reducing the cost of launching payloads into orbit, CollectSpace reports.

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