Humans are one step closer to travel to Mars and other planets, thanks to a successful SpaceX launch yesterday evening. After 15 years of experimentation and labor, the company proved that they have a reusable orbit-class booster design.
The rocket launched at 6:27 EDT. Eight and a half minutes later, the first-stage booster landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
“This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in spaceflight,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
SpaceX rockets, like those that have gone before them, work in phases to reach space. During yesterday’s flight, the first-stage booster was the same one that launched and landed on April 8, 2016. SpaceX was able to land the booster again last night, meaning it could be reused again.
“If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred,” said Musk several years ago. “A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space.”
According to Musk, the booster is the most expensive portion of the portion of the rocket, so finding a way to reuse them would make space flight less expensive. Reusability will be needed during travel to Mars to allow humans to return from the planet once they have arrived. “This mission … is the fundamental key demonstration. It will allow people to live on other planets,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s COO.
Currently, a Falcon 9 launch costs around $62 million. SpaceX has said that reusing the stage-one boosters will give customers a 30% discount. Refurbishing the booster took
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