SpaceX gets taker for 1st flight of recycled rocket

SpaceX gets taker for 1st flight of recycled rocket
This June 6, 2016 photo made available by SpaceX shows recovered Falcon rocket boosters in a hangar at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Fla. The company says it can save considerable time and money by reusing the big, expensive parts. (SpaceX via AP)

SpaceX has a taker for the first flight of one of its recycled rockets.

The Luxembourg-based company SES—a longtime SpaceX launch customer—said Tuesday it will send its next communications satellite up on a previously flown Falcon rocket. It will be the first true reuse of a rocket previously used for an orbital mission. The launch will take place sometime this fall from Cape Canaveral.

"Thanks for the longstanding faith in SpaceX," SpaceX chief Elon Musk said via Twitter. "We very much look forward to doing this milestone flight with you."

The chief technology officer at SES, Martin Halliwell, said SpaceX's testing for the upcoming mission gives his company "full confidence." SES was the first commercial satellite operator to launch with SpaceX, back in 2013, he noted, and the satellite operator is excited to team up with SpaceX for another first.

"We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight," Halliwell said in a news release.

SpaceX said it can save considerable time and money by reusing the big, expensive parts normally left to sink at sea.

The first-stage, 15-story rocket—equipped with nine engines—is what launches everything to space. It separates 2 1/2 minutes after liftoff, and the second stage takes over to get the payload into the proper orbit. This second stage, for now anyway, is still discarded.

SpaceX gets taker for 1st flight of recycled rocket
In this May 27, 2016 photo made available by SpaceX, their Falcon rocket booster lands on a platform in the Atlantic Ocean after launching a satellite into orbit. The company says it can save considerable time and money by reusing the big, expensive parts. (SpaceX via AP)

Since December, SpaceX has recovered six boosters following liftoff, landing them upright on an ocean barge or back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It hopes to expand its Florida inventory this weekend, as it attempts to launch an Israeli communications satellite.

SpaceX's single attempt to land a leftover booster launched from California, back in January, failed.

The first recovered booster now stands outside the company's Southern California headquarters. The one used in a space station supply run for NASA in April will be used in the fall SES flight.

Another private space company, Blue Origin, has been reflying a recovered rocket from Texas for months but these have been suborbital test flights.


Explore further

SpaceX launches satellite, but fails to land rocket on barge

More information: SpaceX: www.spacex.com/

SES: www.ses.com/4232583/en

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Citation: SpaceX gets taker for 1st flight of recycled rocket (2016, August 30) retrieved 18 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-08-spacex-taker-1st-flight-recycled.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
600 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Aug 30, 2016
Great News! Way to go, SpaceX - you are redefining access to space.

Aug 30, 2016
SES is savvy, they know a winner when they see one, and they already saved millions in launch services. Given the choice, I too would bet on SpaceX all day and all night, but a lot of folks probably feel the same. The question is, what sets them apart? At least part of the answer is a unique long term vision to move society forward. Their strategy includes lowering the barriers to accessing space, not just grabbing as much money as possible from fat government contracts. That is a very compelling approach, likely to attract the very best and very brightest to SpaceX and setting up a virtuous circle. One can only hope someday our public discourse will focus on the fact that most people want to be part of something better, not just the folks at SpaceX.

Aug 30, 2016
The question is, what sets them apart?


It's called "choice-supportive bias".

People who have been cheerleading SpaceX for so long, made investments - monetary or emotional - can't tolerate the possibility that they'd fail. That's why people ascribe these Jesus-like qualities to a corporation that is no different from any profit-seeking corporation.

I bet you believed Steve Jobs was really about "magic and innovation" too.

Question is, what will you say if the refurbished rocket falls off the sky?

Aug 30, 2016
"That's why people ascribe these Jesus-like qualities to a corporation that is no different from any profit-seeking corporation."

Jesus never said anything about going to Mars.

Aug 30, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Aug 30, 2016
The space shuttles were also supposed to be reusable and we all know, how it all ended..


Yes, tinitus, we do know how the space shuttles ended:

Enterprise : 5 flights
Columbia: 28 flights
Challenger: 10 fliights
Discovery: 39 flights
Atlantis: 33 flights
Endeavour: 25 flights

Total: 135 flights : 37 dockings at ISS : 9 dockings at MIR : 21,158 orbits around the Earth

God Bless America Buddy!!

NASA did this 40 years ago with something a lot bigger than a stage 1

When a stage one gets used 39 times I'll be amazed - but 10 times is great too.

Aug 31, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Aug 31, 2016
Yes, tinitus, we do know how the space shuttles ended:


Terribly over budget. They were supposed to fly every two weeks to be economically viable, but then it turned out they needed a complete overhaul after every flight to ensure even marginal safety, and the whole thing went to the peanuts.

That's the potential issue for SpaceX as well. If they can't figure out ways to make sure the engine is flawless, they'll have to rebuild it essentially from scratch. Then comes the relatively low probabiity of success in the recovery process itself,

but 10 times is great too.


It's not. It's just under their break-even estimate for cost.

Jesus never said anything about going to Mars.


Jesus didn't make promises he couldn't keep. Elon Musk is just running his mouth to generate more investments.

Aug 31, 2016
"Jesus didn't make promises he couldn't keep."

Curious, exactly what do you believe was beyond His reach?

"Elon Musk is just running his mouth to generate more investments."

Wrong, he is speaking from the heart. Why start such diverse companies in rockets, electric cars, solar power and hyperloops if you are not interested in making the world better? My only disagreement with him is that he not be allowed to die on Mars unless it is from extreme old age. We need him here too much.

Sep 01, 2016
the space shuttles were refurbished after every flight - no doubt - My point was that the shuttle was reusable --

This is the first time we get to see if the stage one boosters are reworkable. With them returning intact an engineer can now redesign them. The engines are going to go up in cost yes - but then they will come down as the method of production gets going. The issue here is that there we moved from governments being able to finance the engines - to now a few (4) big companies - and in a decade or two there will be many companies able to purcahse the engines and the technology to reuse them. this might just be my hope and pipe dream.

Sep 04, 2016
Of course the used one would get a taker! We so KNOW for a stone cold fact that the USED one did NOT blow up! LOL.

Sep 04, 2016
Of course the used one would get a taker! We so KNOW for a stone cold fact that the USED one did NOT blow up! LOL.
Only the first stage is recovered for reuse. The explosion seems to be due to a fuel leak during the second stage fueling. This happened well before any attempt at firing the rocket engines.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more