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SpaceX launches first ever recycled rocket

Posted on Friday, 31 March, 2017 | Comment icon 14 comments

SpaceX has achieved a great deal over the last few years. Image Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
The space firm achieved a major milestone last night by relaunching a previously used rocket booster.
Hailed by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk as a revolutionary step towards making space exploration more affordable, the launch demonstrates once and for all that it is possible to not only recover used rockets, but to then use them again in future launches.

The rocket booster, which had been used during a mission last year, not only launched successfully from Florida on Thursday but even landed again afterwards on an ocean platform, meaning that it should be possible to use it a third time as well.

Musk's next objective will be to achieve a turnaround time of just 24 hours for reusable rockets.

"The potential is there for (an) over 100-fold reduction in the cost of access to space," he said. "If we can achieve that, it means humanity can become a space-faring civilisation and be out there among the stars. This is what we want for the future."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (14)

Tags: SpaceX, Rocket

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Merc14 on 31 March, 2017, 1:27
It's not as straight forward as you think but this article does a through job of discussing the pluses and negatives but the short and long of it is roughly 30% and fifteen times or maybe dozens of times.   http://spacenews.com/spacexs-reusable-falcon-9-what-are-the-real-cost-savings-for-customers/
Comment icon #6 Posted by lost_shaman on 31 March, 2017, 1:52
Thanks Merc14.  Seems like a long road, but Spacex is doing it. I'm not going to bet against them at this point.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Derek Willis on 31 March, 2017, 10:20
Did using the refurbished boosters from the Space Shuttle not count as the first time an orbital class vehicle has been re-flown? The boosters were essentially the first stage of the shuttle. And of course, the shuttles were themselves reused. That said, I am not in any way diminishing Space-X's achievement.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 31 March, 2017, 11:29
It's a little difficult to compare. The shuttle  SRB's were recovered but you can't really consider them a vehice. They also needed to be stripped back to their component parts and totally refurbished before the next flight. SpaceX has the goal of relying a Falcon 9 1st stage within 24 hours of landing.  The shuttle orbiter was, of course, reusable but it too took many months to refurbish between flights. It never achieved the turn around times it was planned for and was more expensive than a conventional launch vehicle. Also, all the time they were throwing away the largest component, the ext... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Derek Willis on 31 March, 2017, 14:41
Like I say, I am not in any way diminishing Space-X's achievements - what they have done over the last ten years or so has been amazing, and this has changed the whole nature of building and launching orbital rockets. No longer can the cartel of aerospace suppliers operate on a cost-plus basis. Competition is now in the market, and that will drive costs down. Mr Musk is obviously a very shrewd operator. I can remember him being criticized by the "establishment" of the space industry for appearing to go back-over in designing expendable rockets. But all along he had this spectacular plan! I hav... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by Mr.United_Nations on 31 March, 2017, 14:44
Got to give credit to the whole SpaceX team, they are really talented and innotive group of people
Comment icon #11 Posted by Merc14 on 31 March, 2017, 15:02
There are differences though in that the shuttle went into orbit for days at a time lifting massive loads and then returned, sometimes with cargo on board, to land on a runway.. I looked up why they took so long to turn around and was surprisd to read they changed all teh engines out!  I never knew that and wonder why give the durability of the RS-25 engines and their reliability..   Question: Scott from MelbourneWhy does it take so long to get shuttles ready for a launch? Answer:  It takes a long time, Scott, because of all the things we're doing to try and make sure that the shuttle is ready... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by paperdyer on 31 March, 2017, 16:52
Hi Merc - That's a major point on the use of back-up systems.  Do you know how many SpaceX has?  I hope they don't anticipate a periodic failure rate necessitating the use of a redundant system.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Derek Willis on 31 March, 2017, 17:45
According to my 1978 edition of Rocket Propulsion Elements by George Sutton (the later editions are still the standard university text) Rocketdyne expected no more than 10% of RS-25 components would need to be changed after each flight during the early stages of the program, and this would reduce to less than 5%. The plan was that for the first dozen or so flights the engines would be removed, but after experience was gained the component replacements would be done with the engines in situ. However, an article in the August 1988 edition of the Spaceflight magazine describes how during the earl... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by Merc14 on 31 March, 2017, 19:05
I don't know.  It is a privately held company so everything is not out in the open as it is with NASA.  It will be interesting to see how the customers react to rockets going up for the third or fourth time, I am guessing they will ask for discounts to offset the risk at least until it is a proven system and they have already had their share of problems for sure.

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