SpaceX has successfully launched a satellite with its first recycled rocket. SpaceX launched the recycled Falcon 9 rocket on March 30 from the Kennedy Space Center.
A historic feat for both Elon Musk and his team at SpaceX, the news was shared by the company's CEO on Twitter.
Incredibly proud of the SpaceX team for achieving this milestone in space! Next goal is reflight within 24 hours.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2017
The Historic Launch: Falcon 9 Recycled Rocket Takes To Space
Before the historic launch, SpaceX renovated and tested the 15-foot booster along with the nine engines.
The Falcon 9 rocket, which took off from the seaside launch pad from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, is on its second mission. The Falcon 9 rocket will deliver a spacecraft into orbit and took off from the launchpad at 6.27 p.m. EDT.
Located on top of the Falcon 9, which boasts a novel upper stage and payload fairing, is the 11,645-pound SES-10 communication satellite. This satellite will provide internet, TV, and other services to people in Latin America.
The satellite was launched into an initial elliptical orbit ranging 135 miles to 22,002 miles above the Earth's surface. In the coming month, the satellite will continue to move and will finally come to rest when it reaches the desired operational circular orbit, which is roughly 22,300 miles above the Equator.
"It's an amazing day for ... the space industry," noted Musk, post the touchdown.
SpaceX was also able to retrieve Falcon 9's payload fairing, which is the nose cone that protects the SES-10 at the time of takeoff.
The $6 million revamped rocket landed in the Atlantic Ocean with the help of a parachute and an onboard thruster system.
SpaceX has now landed, as well as launched, Falcon 9 first stages nine times. Out of these, six touchdowns happened on drone ships and three landed on terra firma at Cape Canaveral.
Why Is This Launch A Big Deal?
The launch of the recycled Falcon 9 was the third launch from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A.
Considering that a booster is one of the most expensive parts of a multi-stage-rocket, reusing it is a great feat.
SpaceX started flying the kerosene-fueled boosters in 2015 and has landed around eight of them.
However, SpaceX is not the first company to launch a booster to space multiple times. Previously, Blue Origin landed the New Shepherd rocket five times between November 2015 and October 2016. However, all of these test flights were suborbital.