Florida (USA), Mar 31: After more than two years of landing its rockets after launch, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX has finally sent one of its used ‘Falcon 9’ back into space.
The rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Thursday evening, sending a communications satellite into orbit, and then landed on one of SpaceX’s drone ships floating in the Atlantic Ocean.
It was round two for this particular rocket, which had already launched and landed during a mission in April last year. This re-launch Falcon 9 marks the first time an orbital rocket has launched to space for the second time.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appeared on the company’s live stream shortly after the landing and spoke about the accomplishment. “It means you can fly and re-fly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket. This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight,” he said.
This evening’s mission was a critical milestone for SpaceX, which has been working to make its rockets partially reusable since as early as 2011. Up until now, practically all orbital rockets have been expendable, so they’re basically thrown away once they launch into space.
SpaceX’s strategy has been to land its rockets after launch in an effort to fly them again and again. That way the company can partially save on manufacturing costs for each mission.
Now with today’s launch, SpaceX has proven that part of a used Falcon 9 can successfully launch to space again. And the fact that the vehicle successfully returned to Earth in one piece means that the rocket is poised to launch for the third time. Now SpaceX can boast nine successful rocket landings, as well as a Falcon 9 that has gone to and from space two times now.
“It’s been 15 years to get to this point, it’s taken us a long time,” Musk said. “A lot of difficult steps along the way, but I’m just incredibly proud of the SpaceX for being able to achieve this incredible milestone in the history of space.”
SpaceX was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who also owns Tesla Motors Inc along with online payment application, Paypal, and freight transportation concept, Hyperloop. The main goal of SpaceX is to reduce space transportation costs and enabling the colonisation of Mars. SpaceX has therefore specially developed the Falcon launch vehicle family and the Dragon spacecraft family that deliver payloads into Earth orbit.
Elon Musk, in his tweet stating his feelings after the historic launch, assets of their next goal to conduct re-flight of a used rocket within 24 hours, which would be revolutionary, and enhance space travel enormously in the future.