MAR 30, 2017 5:59 AM PDT

SpaceX to Try Launching a Satellite With a Used Falcon 9 Rocket

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

SpaceX has been launching Falcon 9 rockets and landing them for months, but the company envisions is a future where rockets don’t only go into space and land upright on Earth, but to actually re-fuel them so they can be used once again.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket landing upright after flying to space.

Image Credit: SpaceX

To accomplish this, there is a refurbshing process in between each launch, but essentially, re-using rockets over and over again can cut costs and make spaceflight a more affordable option for companies.

Doing so enables SpaceX to slash the price of building a new rocket for every launch, which comes out to an estimated $16,000,000, down to a much more manageable $250,000 to simply re-fuel the rocket (plus any necessary refurbishments).

While SpaceX may have launched and landed several reusable Falcon 9 rockets previously, the space company is about to go down in history books on Thursday as it plans to launch a first stage that has been to space previously as a part of a mission for a paying customer for the first time.

The rocket, which already sustained static test-firing earlier this week, will be carrying a payload containing an SES-10 satellite into orbit over the South American continent.

All previous Falcon 9 rockets that were used for space missions for paying customers were virgin flyers, and that means SpaceX has a lot riding on its next launch if it’s to realize its goals and aspirations.

SpaceX has already made the necessary refurbishments to the rocket’s first stage and re-fueled it in preparation for Thursday evening. It would appear there is a golden window of opportunity to launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center at around 6:37 P.M. EST.

UPDATE: The launch was successful, as was the landing of the used rocket. SpaceX has proven that reusable rocket technology just might be viable afterall.

For what it’s worth, Blue Origin has already launched, landed, and re-launched some of their reusable rocket systems, but these aren't intended for the same tasks as SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets are, so it's very much an Apple's to Oranges comparison. Falcon 9 rockets are made for deeper space penetration to put satellites into Earth's orbit, while Blue Origin’s New Shepard rockets are intended for minimal space penetration and space tourism in mind. That said, Falcon 9 rockets are more capable.

In the future, Blue Origin may explore the same opportunities as SpaceX does currently by building bigger rockets like New Glenn, but they’re not quite there yet.

You might also like: This is what it looks like when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explodes

In case you’re interested in seeing what it’s like to land a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, we’ve included the video below showing what it looks like from the rocket’s point of view:

Source: BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 15, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Earth's Core has 70 Times More Hydrogen than the Oceans
MAY 15, 2021
Earth's Core has 70 Times More Hydrogen than the Oceans
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have found that under certain extreme conditions, hydrogen particles can bond s ...
JUN 24, 2021
Space & Astronomy
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
JUN 24, 2021
European Space Agency to Launch Satellite Made from Plywood
Modern spacecraft are typically made out of carbon fiber composites. Now, however, the European Space Agency has announc ...
JUL 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Giant Plumes on Saturn's Moon May Hold Signs of Life
JUL 08, 2021
Giant Plumes on Saturn's Moon May Hold Signs of Life
Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, has giant erupting plumes of water that, scientists say, can not be explained by known g ...
JUL 15, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Modern Slavery in Greece Spotted from Space
JUL 15, 2021
Modern Slavery in Greece Spotted from Space
Migrant settlements being exploited for work have been spotted with satellite imagery by researchers led by the Universi ...
SEP 23, 2021
Immunology
Houses on Mars Held Together With Astronaut Blood?!
SEP 23, 2021
Houses on Mars Held Together With Astronaut Blood?!
A protein abundantly present in the blood plasma of astronauts is perfect for building shelters in outer space, say rese ...
OCT 11, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Martian Rocks Show Signs of Long-Term Water Erosion
OCT 11, 2021
Martian Rocks Show Signs of Long-Term Water Erosion
A new report in Nature has shown that water had a pivotal role in shaping the surface of Mars, just as the Perseverance ...
Loading Comments...