On 31-Mar-2017 In Science & Technology
SpaceX just created another history by relaunching a used Falcon 9 into space, on Thursday. This milestone will take the company one step closer to their goal of reducing space transportation cost.The achievement took 15 years in making, and this may change the way we see the rocket reusability after its first launch.
Until now, every rocket that enters into the orbit is destroyed, it means a new rocket is used in every unique launch, which increases the manufacturing cost. Reusing the same rocket, again and again, will help in saving manufacturing cost and time. Though, SpaceX could only save the main engine and the fuel tank (first stage) of the rocket to make it reusable, which actually covers the most of the manufacturing cost.
The falcon took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, sending a communications SES 10 satellite into orbit, and then landed on drone ships floating in the Atlantic Ocean. The SES 10 are the satellites, used for sending DTH (Direct to Home) signals in North America. The SES-10 was also successfully set up in orbit.
The company managed to save the Falcon 9's nose cone which alone costs $6 million. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, said some benefits was given to SES for flying on a used Falcon. Due to this achievement, SpaceX will look back in relaunching the stockpile of the Falcon 9 rockets. As per the statement published in The Verge, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell has said that customers that fly on a used Falcon 9 could eventually get discounts of up to 30 percent. Since the cost to launch a Falcon 9 starts at around $60 million, launching on a used rocket could start at around $40 million. This means each project can save around $20 million, if not to the customer then to SpaceX for sure.If we look at an interesting fact, $20 million can buy around 300 Tesla Model S cars!
According to the sources, SES did save some cost on using used Falcon 9, though the real figure is not revealed. .“We did receive a discount. Obviously to fly this there was some interest and there was some incentive to do so,” Martin Halliwell, CTO of SES.
Elon Musk addressed the media after the success, stating “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.”