Save the Date! SpaceX Set to Launch First Reused Rocket Into Space
- Author: Terrell Bush Mar 31, 2017,
Mar 31, 2017, 0:44
SpaceX refers to it as a "flight proven" rocket.
Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX CEO said that reusing boosters could give its customers a 30 percent discount on a Falcon 9 rocket launch, which now costs up to $62 million. It will then attempt to land again back on the ground, but just making the trip in the first place is a big deal.
During a press event with reporters at Port Canaveral on Tuesday, SES Chief Technology Officer Martin Halliwell said SpaceX provided SES with "tremendous transparency" into many aspects of the first stage, ranging from design to avionics to engines. Blue Origin has conducted several tests of its reusable suborbital rocket New Shepard and Virgin Galactic's suborbital SpaceShipTwo also is reusable.
While the rocket that landed in December 2015 now stands on display outside SpaceX headquarters, in Hawthorne, Calif., the Falcon 9 that landed in April 2016 is now being put to the ultimate test. It's time to relaunch one.
But first SpaceX has to prove it can actually reuse a first-stage booster.
Meanwhile, United Launch Alliance continues to troubleshoot a hydraulic issue on an Atlas V rocket's main engine, an issue that has delayed its planned launch of an Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft to the International Space Station. Over the a year ago, SpaceX has tried to bring the Falcon 9 first stage safely back to Earth 13 times - and succeeded on eight of those attempts.
The price difference will be all the more significant, as the rockets of SpaceX are already the most affordable worldwide.
SpaceX plans to attempt another ocean barge landing for the booster after launch, which would mark the second launch and second landing for the vehicle.
The entire philosophy of SpaceX promotes the idea of reusability. I think they're the same as if it was the first time a system was being used. Instead, the space-faring company will launch a rocket that was already used, for the first time ever. The system is being created to use three boosters, and it will further reduce launch costs. The company is planning to lease and possibly build additional facilities for rocket refurbishing that could dive that cost down even further. Perched atop the rocket is the new SES-10 communications satellite, which is headed for geostationary orbit, around 36,000 kilometres away from Earth. SES says SES-10 will also have "the ability to support off-shore oil and gas exploration". The first stages land either on an autonomous drone ship at sea or on a pad at CCAFS, depending on their trajectory and how much fuel remains.
Space X static test-fire of the SES-10 Falcon 9 completed successfully, it wrote in a Twitter post.
SES really wanted to be involved in the first launch from a reusable rocket, said Marcus Payer, the global communications director for SES.