SpaceX aims for historic rocket launch with reused booster

Melba UnderwoodMar 29, 2017

However, the company is yet to relaunch one of its Falcon 9 rockets that have already been to space.

The flight-proven rocket went through a static fire test at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Monday at 2 p.m. that was deemed successful. Also, reusable rockets will shave off a significant financial part of future space missions, making rockets to be used as airplanes.

SpaceX has demonstrated multiple times that it's capable of landing its reusable Falcon 9 rocket back on solid ground.

The reused rocket was first flown in April with the CRS-8 mission, a cargo resupply mission to the space station. And a customer was waiting and willing to make history again with SpaceX.

Luxembourg-based SES and Hawthrone, CA-based SpaceX jointly announced the agreement to "launch SES-10 on a flight-proven Falcon 9 orbital rocket booster". The price difference was "hundredths of a percent", Halliwell said.

SES chief technology officer Martin Halliwell said he has little worry about this week's launch, scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday.

While it's unclear what the next step is for Falcon 9's reusability, SpaceX has a packed agenda for its Falcon Heavy rocket, created to deliver large payloads to orbit for customers.

The first-ever recovered rocket - proudly displayed at SpaceX's California headquarters - was also the first to fare well in a drone ship landing. This is the second time this booster has test fired its engines on a launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX's Elon Musk talks up how a single vehicle may one day be reused 10 to 20 times. If all goes according to plan, without any delays, mishaps or explosions, the Falcon 9 will ferry the SES-10 communications satellite into orbit later this week.

SES has contracted SpaceX to launch four satellites, SES-10 targeted for Thursday from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A on the used booster, SES-11, SES-16 and SES-14. If the rocket is able to launch without any problems, it would revolutionize the space industry, and make the process behind organizing launches not only cheaper but a lot easier.

This will be SpaceX's fourth launch this year after a flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif, on January 14 to launch 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, a space station resupply mission launched from pad 39A on February 19 and launch of an EchoStar communications satellite on March 16, also from the Kennedy Space Center.

"I think Elon's given us 24 hours, maybe, to get done what we need to get done, and it's not a million people around a rocket scurrying like a beehive or an anthill", said Shotwell.

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