Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has achieved an industry first. On March 30 the firm successfully launched a satellite into space using a first stage Falcon 9 rocket booster that has flown into space before, then landed the booster safely back on Earth. The booster was undamaged and potentially could fly a third mission.
The rocket took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 6:30 p.m. on March 30. It was delivering a communications satellite that will provide TV services to Latin America into orbit.
After reaching space, the rocket’s first stage seperated, turned around and flew back to earth. The second stage then took the satellite into orbit. The second stage will not be reused.
Reusable rockets would cut the cost of space travel significantly. SpaceX said its reusable Falcon 9 boosters cut the cost by about 30 percent. That would be a saving of millions of dollars, considering a ride on a regular Falcon 9 costs $62 million dollars. SpaceX so far has not released the price tag for the reusable version.