Elon Musk’s SpaceX makes history by relaunching and landing a used Falcon 9 rocket

By Adamya Sharma | Updated 13 Jun 2017
Elon Musk’s SpaceX makes history by relaunching and landing a used Falcon 9 rocket
  • This is the first time ever in the history of aerospace that a rocket has been used for an orbital mission twice.

Elon Musk-led aerospace manufacturer, SpaceX made history yesterday by relaunching and landing a used Falcon 9 rocket. This is the first time ever that a rocket has been used for an orbital mission twice. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket ship accomplished its first ever sea landing after delivering a payload to the International Space Station, followed by a mission to deploy the JCSAT-14 satellite to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. A Falcon 9 rocket was also recently launched from the historic launch pad 39A at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center successfully delivering a 5,500kg payload to the International Space Station. Before this mission, the company's Falcon 9 rockets had successfully completed 8 spatial round trips, making this the ninth victorious launch and landing for the company. 

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First stage entry burn complete. Second stage continuing nominally to geostationary transfer orbit.

Yesterday's mission will go down as the first of its kind in the history books of space flights. The said rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, with a communications satellite in tow. The rocket was able to deploy the satellite in orbit and return back to Earth, landing aboard a SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. This Falcon 9 rocket was earlier used back in April 2016 to deliver 3,175 Kgs of supplies for Nasa. As a practice, SpaceX recovers the first stage of its rockets when they land back to the ground. This forms the core of the rocket ship and includes crucial components such as the engine, fuel, etc. Although SpaceX also possesses its first successful Falcon 9 rocket, it used this one because it wanted to preserve the first one, which now sits pretty on display at the company’s headquarters in California.   

The Falcon 9’s second flight to orbit has great significance for affordable space travel and is a big victory for SpaceX which has indeed made rockets reusable. Speaking through a company live stream, SpaceX Founder and CEO, Musk said, “It means you can fly and refly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket. This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight.”

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SpaceX's aim has been to make space travel more affordable, as well as encourage its privatisation, lessening regulatory control over the industry. Rockets that complete a mission to orbit are usually discarded, but this Falcon 9's flight changes everything. We now know that these rockets can be used for multiple flights cutting down costs tremendously and paving the way for a new era of space exploration.

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Adamya Sharma
Managing editor, Digit.in - News Junkie, Movie Buff, Tech Whizz!
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