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article imageSpaceX recycled rocket launch one for the history books

By Karen Graham     Mar 30, 2017 in Science
Cape Canaveral - We have already learned that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is not afraid of failure and tonight's launch of a recycled rocket carrying a satellite into space may make history.
The Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral has flown before. If all systems remain "Go," it will liftoff at 6:27 p.m. ET tonight with an SES-10 communications satellite aboard. A backup launch window is set for April 1 if weather interferes with tonight's launch.
The satellite launch is sort of special in its own right - SES, a Luxembourg satellite operator has been very vocal about wanting to be the first company to launch on a recycled rocket, letting the world know back in August it was going to be the one on the inaugural flight, reports The Verge.
“Having been the first commercial satellite operator to launch with SpaceX back in 2013, we are excited to once again be the first customer to launch on SpaceX's first ever mission using a flight-proven rocket,” Martin Halliwell, CTO of SES, said in a statement. “We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight, and make access to space more efficient in terms of cost and manifest management.”
Success of launch an important step for SpaceX
The Falcon 9 booster rocket is the same one used by SpaceX in its April 8, 2016, launch of the CRS-8, the company’s eighth cargo resupply mission to the ISS. The company chose to use this booster instead of the first Falcon 9 the company landed in December 2015 because Musk deemed it "special." It is currently on display at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
SpaceX has successfully recovered eight out of 13 rockets it has launched, and while tonight's relaunch is an historic first all by itself, the attempt to successfully land the booster on a barge again will also be really big. If the landing is successful, it would open up the possibility of a "first third Launch," reports the Christian Scientist Monitor.
Elon Musk had earlier said that he expected to see Falcon 9s capable of making 10 to 20 flights. Likening rockets to expensive cars, Musk says you wouldn't drive a car just one time, so, why in the world should we be limited to using a rocket just one time? And a Falcon 9 rocket costs about $62 million.
Reuse is “just as fundamental in rocketry as it is in other forms of transport – such as cars or planes or bicycles,” said Musk at a briefing after a launch last year. Musk sees future costs for the Falcon 9 dropping to $40 million with using recycled rockets. And that's really the whole purpose of reusing rockets. Space flights will become more economical for companies and space travelers.
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