SpaceX Ready to Relaunch Falcon 9 After Successful Hotfire Test

SpaceX Ready to Relaunch Falcon 9 After Successful Hotfire Test

Following up on its earlier success at NASA's Cape Canaveral launch pad, SpaceX is set to send yet another rocket to space, and potentially achieving something that has yet to be seen in the space industry: re-using a rocket. At present although the cost of a new airliner is about the same as a Falcon 9 rocket, a commercial airliner can be used for tens of thousands of flights over its lifetime, whereas a traditional space-faring rocket is used just the once.

SpaceX, along with other private spaceflight companies, is trying to drastically lower the cost of access to space in order to open up a new range of possible missions. We also have to say "liquid-fueled" because the space shuttle solid rocket boosters were reusable. The rocket, which successfully landed on a drone ship in April 2016, is scheduled to refly on the SES-10 mission.

SpaceX's Elon Musk talks up how a single vehicle may one day be reused 10 to 20 times.

If the mission is successful, SpaceX will have made a major step towards its aim of reusing rockets and saving a large portion of the costs involved in launching a payload into orbit.

SpaceX has conducted the hotfire test for Falcon 9 on March 27, and it is ready to relaunch Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, March 30. Its first stage engine was powered at launch pad 39A at 2 p.m. EDT, accelerating to full power for just a few seconds. Thanks to Elon Musk-owned SpaceX, we are about to witness a historical event this Thursday. The satellite operator was SpaceX's first customer for a Falcon 9 ride to geostationary transfer orbit some 22,200 miles (35,730 kilometers) above Earth.

Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX CEO said that reusing boosters could give its customers a 30 percent discount on a Falcon 9 rocket launch, which now costs up to $62 million.

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In one measure of the mission's perceived risk, Halliwell said that the insurance rates SES is paying "did not materially change" from a typical launch on a new rocket.

SES chief technology officer Martin Halliwell told journalists Tuesday that the decision to use a pre-flown rocket came down to "tremendous transparency" between the satellite provider and the commercial launch company. That's the idea behind the company's Reusability program - to make rockets that can withstand space travel multiple times before they have to be retired.

The weather outlook for Thursday evening's launch window calls for a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

"I think the whole industry is looking", he said.

SpaceX, founded by CEO Musk in 2002, builds the Falcon 9 as well as the rocket's Merlin engines in-house, taking a Silicon Valley approach to constant improvements and a tight collaboration between design and manufacturing. This means it would enable more opportunities for space agencies to launch their payloads into space, due to the reduced costs.

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