SpaceX successfully launches and lands a used rocket for the first time ever

William Gayde

Posts: 380   +5
Staff member

Some things, like gum and diapers, are designed to only be used once. According to SpaceX though, their Falcon 9 rocket is not one of those things. For the first time ever, SpaceX has launched and landed a rocket that had flown to space before. This historic milestone was described as a "huge revolution in spaceflight" by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk following the mission. The rocket carried a communications satellite to orbit that will provide service to Latin America. This rocket was previously flown in April of last year.

SpaceX started working 6 years ago to try to make their rockets reusable, something Musk has envisioned for a decade and a half. Before this point however, SpaceX had to build and test an entirely new rocket for every launch. This ended up costing tens of millions of dollars to do. The actual part that is reused is the core which houses the main engines and most of the rocket fuel.

In addition to this, SpaceX recovered the Falcon 9's $6 million nose cone for the first time as well.

Following a launch, the rocket core is rigorously inspected and tested to ensure there is no damage. This process currently takes up to four months, but getting this time down is beneficial for both SpaceX and its customers. Musk's next goal is to be able to relaunch a rocket within 24 hours of its previous flight.

Evidently, one of the primary benefits to reusing rockets is the cost savings. SpaceX is estimating about a 30% reduction compared to a new rocket. This means launches could start around $40 million, an unthinkably low cost in the not to distant past. Although they don't fly anymore, NASA's Space Shuttle and its boosters were also reusable. SpaceX has plans to launch up to 6 additional second-hand rockets later this year.

Permalink to story.

 

Kotters

Posts: 331   +225
The shuttle was not reusable. It was refurbishable. Between the long time spend tearing down and rebuilding the rocket engines, and repairing recertifying the Shuttles, there was effectively no cost savings associated with the "reusable" nature of the Shuttle, at the expense of massively reduced crew safety and payload.

We should have kept buying and flying the Saturn V, a fully matured and paid for system that had crew abort capability and massive lift. A single Saturn V could launch a station with volume on the order of the entire ISS.
 

R00sT3R

Posts: 421   +1,123
As far as I'm concerned a rocket isn't truly 'reusable' until they can launch every day without the need for any maintenance or refuelling.

Basically they need to be like your car, ready for use whenever you need it 24/7 with enough fuel on-board to undertake multiple journeys between refills.

We're a long,long,long way from that.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,349   +1,510
Musk, a guy probably known by most as the one responsible for manufacturing and selling Tesla cars, is also sending rockets into space, and sure enough, that just isn't enough for some people. It's sad really.

The shuttle was not reusable. It was refurbishable. Between the long time spend tearing down and rebuilding the rocket engines, and repairing recertifying the Shuttles, there was effectively no cost savings associated with the "reusable" nature of the Shuttle, at the expense of massively reduced crew safety and payload.

Before this point however, SpaceX had to build and test an entirely new rocket for every launch. This ended up costing tens of millions of dollars to do. The actual part that is reused is the core which houses the main engines and most of the rocket fuel.
 

rvnwlfdroid

Posts: 193   +49
As far as I'm concerned a rocket isn't truly 'reusable' until they can launch every day without the need for any maintenance or refuelling.

Basically they need to be like your car, ready for use whenever you need it 24/7 with enough fuel on-board to undertake multiple journeys between refills.

We're a long,long,long way from that.

"Musk's next goal is to be able to relaunch a rocket within 24 hours of its previous flight." Would that not fall under the category of everyday?
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,033   +3,159
As far as I'm concerned a rocket isn't truly 'reusable' until they can launch every day without the need for any maintenance or refuelling.

Basically they need to be like your car, ready for use whenever you need it 24/7 with enough fuel on-board to undertake multiple journeys between refills.

We're a long,long,long way from that.

"Musk's next goal is to be able to relaunch a rocket within 24 hours of its previous flight." Would that not fall under the category of everyday?
Just because it's his next goal doesn't mean it's coming any time soon.... remember, this is the guy who thinks we'll be colonizing other planets in his lifetime....
 

rvnwlfdroid

Posts: 193   +49
As far as I'm concerned a rocket isn't truly 'reusable' until they can launch every day without the need for any maintenance or refuelling.

Basically they need to be like your car, ready for use whenever you need it 24/7 with enough fuel on-board to undertake multiple journeys between refills.

We're a long,long,long way from that.

"Musk's next goal is to be able to relaunch a rocket within 24 hours of its previous flight." Would that not fall under the category of everyday?
Just because it's his next goal doesn't mean it's coming any time soon.... remember, this is the guy who thinks we'll be colonizing other planets in his lifetime....

And who's to say what could happen if the right minds get together and decide to make it happen. I'm sure plenty of people were thinking the same thing when "the right minds" decided to send a man to the moon.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,033   +3,159
And who's to say what could happen if the right minds get together and decide to make it happen. I'm sure plenty of people were thinking the same thing when "the right minds" decided to send a man to the moon.
Not saying it isn't going to happen.... just isn't going to happen quickly...
 

Bruno M. Villar

Posts: 28   +6
As far as I'm concerned a rocket isn't truly 'reusable' until they can launch every day without the need for any maintenance or refuelling.

Basically they need to be like your car, ready for use whenever you need it 24/7 with enough fuel on-board to undertake multiple journeys between refills.

We're a long,long,long way from that.

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And when we reach that possibility, the planet won't have enough resources to sustain such purpose.
I don't know why people keep thinking about a future were we will walk among cyborgs, flying cars, that won't happen at all. Period.
 

gusticles41

Posts: 503   +602
I don't know why people keep thinking about a future were we will walk among cyborgs, flying cars, that won't happen at all. Period.

I'm not sure what crazy people you interact with. The reality is we have drones delivering goods, self-driving cars, and increasingly cheaper space travel. It's a cool time to be alive.
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,289
As far as I'm concerned a rocket isn't truly 'reusable' until they can launch every day without the need for any maintenance or refuelling.

Basically they need to be like your car, ready for use whenever you need it 24/7 with enough fuel on-board to undertake multiple journeys between refills.

We're a long,long,long way from that.

"Musk's next goal is to be able to relaunch a rocket within 24 hours of its previous flight." Would that not fall under the category of everyday?
Just because it's his next goal doesn't mean it's coming any time soon.... remember, this is the guy who thinks we'll be colonizing other planets in his lifetime....

And who's to say what could happen if the right minds get together and decide to make it happen. I'm sure plenty of people were thinking the same thing when "the right minds" decided to send a man to the moon.
Assuming a 'distant' planet could be colonised, how long do you think it will take? A month, maybe two? Forget it. Colonisation of another planet just isn't going to happen in our lifetime, and probably won't for the rest of humankind's existence.
We will land a man on mars, of that I have no doubt but the colonisation of it? That's something that sounds like something that belongs in a H.G. Wells novel. Don't dwell too much on it though because if it ever happens, you won't be around to witness it.
 

Bruno M. Villar

Posts: 28   +6
The real question is: When the time come, we won't have the necessary natural resources to build up and to sustain such new features. Did you guys noticed that grafeno is being utilized instead silicium?
 

Kotters

Posts: 331   +225
As far as I'm concerned a rocket isn't truly 'reusable' until they can launch every day without the need for any maintenance or refuelling.

Basically they need to be like your car, ready for use whenever you need it 24/7 with enough fuel on-board to undertake multiple journeys between refills.

We're a long,long,long way from that.
By your definition, a Car is barely reusable, and we'll literally never have a "reusable" rocket.
 

JaredTheDragon

Posts: 684   +441
Every time Musk doesn't do anything but celebrates himself like he did, I just get so excited. I can't wait to see what he doesn't do next. Maybe he won't get a person into space yet again? It's all so incredible!
 

Kotters

Posts: 331   +225
Every time Musk doesn't do anything but celebrates himself like he did, I just get so excited. I can't wait to see what he doesn't do next. Maybe he won't get a person into space yet again? It's all so incredible!

Elon will never:

Fly a rocket
Fly a rocket into space
Deliver payload
Win a contract
Launch consistently
Land a rocket
Reuse a rocket

Get a person into space
 

JaredTheDragon

Posts: 684   +441
Elon will never:

Fly a rocket
Fly a rocket into space
Deliver payload
Win a contract
Launch consistently
Land a rocket
Reuse a rocket

Get a person into space

He actually did all of those things? I thought it was the engineers and laborers and technicians who performed these feats, not some poster boy Zucky wanna-be. Let's be sure to tell them it wasn't their gig and that fake crypto kids deserve all the credit.
 

Kotters

Posts: 331   +225
He actually did all of those things? I thought it was the engineers and laborers and technicians who performed these feats, not some poster boy Zucky wanna-be. Let's be sure to tell them it wasn't their gig and that fake crypto kids deserve all the credit.
Ah, yeah, you're right. The man who started up the company and pours most of his life into it doesn't deserve any credit. And why are you crediting a bunch of punk kids? They got to live rent-free for 18+ years off of their parents. Their skills aren't even their own, they had to buy 'em from a college. Give credit where credit is due, you prick. "Engineers" and "Laborers" didn't build those rockets, studied Professors and dilligent Parents did.