CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) SpaceX successfully launched and then retrieved its first recycled rocket Thursday, a historic feat and the biggest leap yet in its bid to drive down costs and speed up flights.
Previously, the first stage of the rocket for the SES-10 mission flew in a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station cargo for the the US space agency NASA in April 2016.
Falcon Heavy (FH) - previously called the Falcon 9 Heavy - is a super heavy-lift space launch rocket which is designed and manufactured by the US-based space start-up SpaceX.
We know that Musk and SpaceX began with the idea of making rockets reusable for commercial flights when it was established more than a decade ago, and the company was finally able to achieve this goal in 2015.
Boosters the most expensive part of the rocket, according to Musk typically are discarded following liftoff, sinking into the Atlantic.
"It's an unbelievable day I think for space as a whole", Musk said after the landing. Until Thursday, trying to retrieve the second stage used to get the satellite into the proper, high orbit seemed like a "Hail Mary" pass, Musk said.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk applauded the unique double accomplishments of re-launching a used rocket and recovering the vehicle yet again as a radical step in his journey to slash launch costs and reduce intervals between space shots. "It dropped off the second stage, came back and landed on the drone ship".
On Thursday, SpaceX successfully launched a previously-used rocket, a historic first that puts the company firmly on the path towards its promise of low-priced space flight. While Musk refused to tell the press what the mystery item was right after the 2010 launch, the Los Angeles Times reported it to be the cheese upon confirmation of SpaceX the next day.
There have been several other successful vertical landings, but none of these rockets had been reused until now.
He said it is also a crucial part of his plan to one day establish human colonies on Mars. This fairing alone cost $6 million, so recovering this saves a good percentage of a $60 million launch. While this doesn't account for more than 30% of the overall cost of the rocket, getting it back as well would be a tremendous step forward for the company.
As for Musk, he said that the test payload would be the silliest thing they can imagine.
Thus, the typical cost of a SpaceX launch of $62 million might be reduced to $43 million - a considerable contribution to the satellite company's bottom line.