In a momentous Thursday event, SpaceX successfully launched and landed a previously used Falcon 9 rocket, taking major strides to bring down future aerospace costs and drastically speeding up turnaround times.
The rocket blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center into the serene evening sky. This particular rocket was used during a launch and land mission in April of last year. In its previous flight, the rocket carried 7,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station, and smoothly landed on the SpaceX drone ship named Of Course I Still Love You, an homage to the Sci-Fi Author Iain M. Banks.
This time around, the Falcon 9 carried a communications satellite into orbit before successfully returning to Earth for a second time. This marks the first occasion where an orbital rocket fulfilled two space missions.
Elon Musk recently took to Twitter to celebrate this historic moment.
Orbital rockets are typically quite expendable, meaning brand new rockets are created for subsequent launches. This drastically ramps up the price tag, costing millions for each mission. In order to increase efficiency, SpaceX focused on creating a smooth landing process in an effort to reuse their costly equipment.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket was the recycled component. This contains a 14-story core that houses the rocket’s main engines and fuel reserves. After liftoff, the first stage separates from the upper portion as it makes its measured descent back to Earth.
During the launch on Thursday, SpaceX deployed a communications satellite into orbit for the Luxembourg company SES. The satellite, formerly known as SES-10, will remain 22,000 miles above Earth in high orbit, supplying broadcasting services solely to Latin America.
Please enjoy the recycled rocket launch in the video below. If you’re eager for more coverage, you can view additional photos of the Falcon 9 launch and first stage landing here.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense