'Amazing' First in Space With Used Rocket

SpaceX used recycled rocket, Elon Musk predicts 'huge revolution in spaceflight'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2017 2:15 AM CDT
SpaceX Makes History With Recycled Rocket
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Kennedy Space Center's historic Pad 39A in Cape Canaveral, Fla.   (SpaceX via AP)

For spaceflight, recycling appears to be the way of the future: SpaceX scored an impressive first on Thursday with the launch of a previously used rocket. The Falcon 9 booster, which was first launched for a mission in April last year, sent a communications satellite into space before returning to a SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic to be used again in the future, the Verge reports. SpaceX founder Elon Musk called the successful launch "an amazing day for space." "It means you can fly and re-fly an orbit class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket," he said. "This is going to be, hopefully, a huge revolution in spaceflight."

"It's been 15 years to get to this point," said Musk, who compared discarding rockets after one use to throwing away airplanes after one flight. The launch customer, satellite company SES, received a discount for agreeing to have a reused rocket stage, CBS News reports. SpaceX is now expected to use other previously flown rockets in at least six launches this year, the BBC reports. The company believes it can get up to 10 launches out of its booster rockets and hopes to someday get that up to 100, with turnaround possible within 24 hours. It has been less than a year since SpaceX successfully landed a rocket on an ocean platform for the first time. (More SpaceX stories.)

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