Elon Musk’s SpaceX has successfully launched a recycled Falcon 9 booster on Thursday from Kennedy Space Center. The rocket settled down aboard the company’s “Of Course I Still Love You” barge in the Atlantic Ocean, after roughly nine minutes from the launch.
Musk commented from the Space Center: ”The launch of the commercial satellite marked the first time SpaceX had re-flown a Falcon booster, culminating 15 years of work to prove that large, orbital rockets can be reused.”
We agree with SpaceX’s CEO. Here’s proof that rocket recycling will change space travel as we know it:
According to Musk, “The most expensive part of the whole mission, from a launch standpoint, is the boost stage.” The first stage of the rocket is responsible for the energy needed to orbit, and it makes up around 70 percent of the total cost of the rocket flight.
Reusability, on the other hand, will quickly cut the total cost by another 30 percent or more. (Forbes, 2017)
Since fuel pricing is responsible for only about one percent of the rocket launch cost, recycling will provide enormous cost savings which will allow the space travel industry to take rapid steps toward achieving its short-term and long-term goals, as conducting more experiments and expeditions in space.
According to Forbes: ”Commercial competition has driven down the price for a mid-sized (10 – 15 metric ton) orbital space launch from over $150million to under $65million in the last couple of years. This downward trend will continue as reusable rockets get simpler and higher demand drives economies of scale into the production of what are now very specialized materials and components.”
Watch the re-flight video here.