Recycled rocket hailed as new era for space travel

Posted April 04, 2017

Shortly after the main section of SpaceX's first recycled Falcon 9 booster landed itself on a platform in the ocean, half of the rocket's nosecone, which protected a communications satellite during launch, splashed down via parachute nearby.

Space-X had some spectaculars failures, but a 50-meter section of this booster rocket went into space previous year, and then successfully landed on a platform at sea so it could fly again.

Musk tweeted on Friday that he is looking into a test to bring home the second stage of the company's new Falcon 9 Heavy rocket for reuse when the rocket debuts late in the summer.

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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appeared on the company's live stream shortly after the landing and spoke about the accomplishment. "It is an incredible milestone in the history of space" and predicted, "this is going to be a huge revolution in spaceflight".

Musk said the booster that flew Thursday underwent extensive refurbishment prior to launching again, and that it will be donated to NASA to put on display at Cape Canaveral.

The landing marked the ninth successful touchdown of a first stage rocket for SpaceX - six on ocean platforms, or drone ships, and three on land. India's rocket industry is capable of lighter payloads but is busy fulfilling its own demands, and China's launchers are wholly able to handle "western" satellites but generally fall foul of America's regulations, which forbid their use.

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Now, with last Thursday's success, one of the company's pre-flown and landed Falcon 9 booster rockets launched off for a second mission from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. SES, in fact, is considering more launches later this year on reused Falcon boosters. SpaceX defied conventional wisdom that landing of rocket through propulsion will be technically ridden with challenges and will turn out to be so expensive that it the whole idea will work against the costs involved. The fireball destroyed the not only the rocket, but also the Amos-6 commercial satellite, and significantly damaged the pad. Musk's ultimate goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars.

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.

Speaking of which, the typical SpaceX launch costs around $62 million. The company is getting pretty good at returning rockets to Earth: After 13 attempts in recent years, the company has stuck eight of them. "This is what we want for the future", he said.

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