Elon Musk wanted to do something different and advanced, fuel up a used rocket booster, fire it off, and then recover it for yet another launch. This time he did it. SpaceX, Musk's rocket company, launched one of its 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 rockets at 6:27 p.m. on March 30. This is a two-stage rocket and purpose of sending this rocket is to deliver a telecommunication satellite into orbit. Musk said during a live broadcast of the launch: "It's an amazing day for space as a whole, for the space industry,"
It was the greatest moment for the Musk and also for the company, when the first-stage booster fell back to Earth. Musk said: “The rocket's booster is the largest and most expensive part of the rocket.”
The one used on Thursday had previously launched and landed itself on April 8, 2016. Today that booster again detached and fell back to Earth, and safely landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
This is the first time when any part of a viable, liquid-fueled rocket has been successfully convalesced, recycled, and recovered again.
Musk said: "This is going to be a huge revolution for spaceflight. It's been 15 years to get to this point, I'm at a loss for words." (SpaceX was founded in 2002.)
Importance of the launch
They targeted to get a satellite called SES-10 into orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth. The reason behind the launch was to cover Central America and South America with internet and television coverage.
But all eyes were on the first-stage booster.
Boosters usually are very expensive and cost tens of millions of dollars to build but always burn up, sink into the ocean after helping to deliver a payload into orbit.
John Logsdon, a space policy expert and historian at George Washington University's Space Policy Institute said: “the launch that the feat — now a fact — could be potentially revolutionary, since reusing boosters could reduce the steep cost of getting to space. Reusability has been the Holy Grail in access to space for a long, long time.”
Falcon 9 launches: Now 30% off?
Not so for the bottom halves of most 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 rockets. Those boosters can touch down on land, Until SpaceX has not yet re-launched one to prove that its scheme works.
The booster for the SES-10 mission first fired off on April 8, 2016. It landed itself on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's COO said: “Reusing a rocket booster could save customers about 30% on a $62-million Falcon 9 rocket launch.”
Such a discount on Falcon 9 would save companies more than $18 million per launch, although the Falcon 9 is not that much expensive as compare to others orbit-capable rocket system in the world.
Shotwell said: "This mission ... is the fundamental key demonstration, it will allow people to live on other planets, referencing Musk's ambitious vision to colonize Mars.”
The telecommunication company behind the new satellite is SES, the global communication director Marcus Payer said: “The deal to be a part of this historic launch came about in August 2016. It was originally planned for later that year, but SpaceX's uncrewed rocket explosion on September 1 and the months-long accident investigation that followed delayed the flight.”
He told: "Wherever we can change the industry equation, we will do it. We were waving our hands to be the first, we are not risk-averse, and otherwise we would not be launching satellites."
Musk was delighted by the rocket booster's landing at the center of a drone ship, said: "We just had an incredible day today, right in the bullseye."