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SpaceX to launch first-ever used rocket to space
30 March 2017, 01:37 | Candice Butler
This was the first time SpaceX used Launch Complex 39A since leasing it from NASA in 2014. The launching window is scheduled to open at 6 p.m. EDT on March 30, extending for more than two hours.
The launch will carry an SES-10 satellite, made by one of the first company's to support SpaceX's efforts, Luxembourg-based SES, into orbit to deliver direct broadcasting, broadband and mobile services in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The Falcon 9 was held in place by clamps on the launch pad as it exerted 1.7 million pounds of thrust, which is the extent of its potential output.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is also interested in reusable rockets, and engineers from his company Blue Origin are attempting to design them.
"This was obviously a big step for us, a big step for the industry, a big step for everybody, something that had never, ever been done before", he told reporters Wednesday. But the company had to push back the date after a different rocket, which was new, exploded spontaneously at Cape Canaveral in September, causing months of launch delays for SpaceX.
"Gwynne has promised us parts of the rocket", Halliwell said.
"We don't believe we're taking an inordinate risk here", he said. Halliwell said pricing has not yet been determined. However, the company is yet to relaunch one of its Falcon 9 rockets that have already been to space. "So in terms of the investment required, I would think it would be the most straightforward and the lowest investment".
The goal has been to reduce the cost of rocket launches by eliminating the need to build a whole new booster system after every mission, which could save hundreds of millions of dollars, according to The Verge.
Now, the second Falcon 9 that SpaceX recovered has been picked to be the first one to fly again.
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"Static fire test complete", SpaceX confirmed via social media.
However, the rocket was grounded. Out of 13 attempts, eight of the rockets have stuck the touchdown.
Billionaire CEO Elon Musk in the past has said reusability is the key to developing a way to reaching Mars and called it the "fundamental breakthrough" needed in that effort. "And being able to do that for the primary rocket booster is going to be a huge impact on cost".
Here, the launch vehicle is brought back down to the Earth's surface, refurbished to nix out quirks, and then reused for another flight. "It required a standing army of people to keep it operational", he says. "SpaceX have been through this with a fine-toothed comb. This booster is a really good booster, and we're confident".
Successful landings depend in large part on the rocket's payload and destination. Most flight displays launch without any valuable payloads so that in the event of failure, the company doesn't lose more money.
Heavy communications satellites bound for much higher orbits require more power and use more propellant.
It's a feat that SpaceX has been working toward for more than five years now, and it could be a watershed moment for the aerospace industry.
Logsdon explained to Business Insider that the first-stage booster is not a strap-on accessory.
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