The reuse of rockets could drive down the cost of space travel by a third.
Elon Musk’s space launch company successfully test fired its Falcon 9 rocket to see how test how rockets are able to withstand repeated burns caused by the process of lift off.
SpaceX launched the rocket on Thursday from the Rocket Development and Test Facility in McGregor, Texas in a bid to save money by reusing rockets already used in launching which typically costs around $61 million a time – thus saving around a third of the cost, according to a report by Christian Science Monitor.
Musk is hopeful that the successful relaunch will go on to provide affordable space travel in the future meaning more money invested in research, with SpaceX’s main goal to send humans to Mars.
The Falcon 9 used in the testing was previously used in May to deliver the Japanese JCSAT-14 communications satellite into space but won’t be used in any further flight’s according to the company.
However, SpaceX isn’t the only space company looking to reuse their rockets successfully. Blue Origin is also planning and working on reusable vehicles for its space missions.
SpaceX’s successful relaunch will go towards building trust with companies who will invest in relaunching used rockets and agree to attach their expensive satellites to them with the knowledge they won’t be at risk in any way.
“Getting to the point where they are not only recovering them intact, but reusing them and, here is the key point, reusing them on launches where there is a customer paying for that launch, that is the hard part,” stated astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Jonathan McDowell.
The company is currently planning for a relaunch of the first commercial delivery mission using another Falcon 9 rocket to reach the International Space Station and provide it with vital supplies.