While the second stage of the rocket is now created to fall to Earth and burn up in the atmosphere, for several years SpaceX has been developing the ability to gently land the first stage vertically either on a pad near the launch facility or on platforms floating in the ocean several hundred miles from the launch site.
Elon Musk and SpaceX enjoyed a huge success this week when they successfully relaunched the first stage of a previously launched Falcon 9 rocket. The company just made history by actually achieving this goal with one of its Falcon 9 rockets when it delivered an SES satellite into space.
SpaceX, the California-based company headed by visionary entrepreneur Musk, has for 15 years been honing the technology of powering its boosters back to careful Earth landings on solid ground and in the water. The major feat of the mission was that its booster - the most expensive part of an orbital-class rocket - flew a year earlier.
He added: "This is going to be a huge revolution in spaceflight".
On Friday, Elon Musk wrote on his Twitter that he is looking into a test to bring back to Earth platform the second stage of Falcon 9 Heavy rocket - for reuse! After being successfully sent into space, the Falcon 9 rocket returned and landed on an ocean platform.
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Just this last week, in addition to recovering the reused rocket one more time on his floating drone ship out at sea, Musk was also able to recover the fairing that surrounded the satellite being launched into orbit by the Falcon 9. It sees the cost of a Falcon 9 ride at $62 million but has not yet declared a price for flying on a recycled rocket. While it is not exactly routine, it is the first time a rocket that had flown in space before is being reused.
Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center will be future home to NASA Commercial Crew Program launches and Falcon Heavy missions. Musk's ultimate goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars.
Musk also hopes to get the launch and relaunch turnaround down to 24 hours.
Speaking of which, the typical SpaceX launch costs around $62 million. "But it will certainly be less than the current price of our rockets, obviously, and it will be far lower than any other rocket in the world", Musk claimed.
SES confirmed that the launch had successfully deployed its satellite, and congratulated SpaceX on sticking the landing of the rocket. "We want to make sure that whoever we take can come back".