SpaceX to launch first re-used rocket for cutting costs
Targeting another first in the space industry, Elon Musk's SpaceX is planning to launch a Falcon 9 rocket that has been used before. According to the company, it aims to cut costs by approximately 30% by reusing rockets. The used Falcon 9 will be blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and deliver a communications satellite into orbit.
The Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket comprising a booster and a payload delivery module. The booster, known as the first stage, has a thrust of 1.5 billion pounds at sea level. A composite structure known as the interstage facilitates separation of the two stages. The second stage is the payload delivery module. It has 19 successful launches to its name.
In May 2012, SpaceX's Dragon capsule, delivered into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket, became the first commercial spacecraft in history to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, and safely return cargo to Earth.
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation commonly known as SpaceX, in a revolutionary feat, successfully landed its unmanned Falcon-9 rocket upright after delivering 11 commercial data-relay satellites into orbit. The two-stage Falcon-9 took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8.29 pm local time and the main booster returned to Earth 10 minutes later, landing at a site 6 miles from the launch site.
In November 2015, private spaceflight company Blue Origin successfully landed its New Shepard rocket after launch. However, the New Shepard is a suborbital rocket designed to reach altitudes of 100 km, whereas Falcon-9 can reach altitudes of 90,000 km.
The rocket industry, as it stands now, loses millions of dollars in discarded machinery and sophisticated rocket components after each launch. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk likened the waste to discarding Boeing 747 jets after a single use. The ability of rockets to return to earth and be re-used for future missions would cut costs significantly and revolutionize the growing space industry.
After several attempts over several years, SpaceX finally succeeded in landing a part of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship which was out in the Atlantic Sea. SpaceX landed the first stage of the rocket 8 minutes after it was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket also successfully delivered SpaceX's Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station.
SpaceX launched its 10th resupply mission to the International Space Station using its Falcon 9 rocket today. The launch, which was scheduled for yesterday but cancelled due to undisclosed technical reasons, took place from the LC-39A launchpad at the Kennedy Space Centre, which was used to launch NASA's moon mission in 1969. SpaceX aims to land the reusable Falcon 9 booster at Cape Canaveral.