A few hours ago the SES-10 satellite was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The innovation compared to regular launches of this type is that the rocket’s first stage was already used in a previous mission. It’s the first time that this happens in an actual mission.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage was used for the first time on April 8, 2016 in the CRS-8 mission for NASA to launch the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. After it did its job it landed on the “Of course I still love you” dron ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Brought back to the mainland, it was thoroughly checked and tested with positive results, which is why it was selected for this new launch.
The SES-10 satellite was launched into geostationary orbit from where will provide various telecommunications services. This means that this was not a test but a real commercial mission in which lot of money was involved. The economic factor is precisely the reason that convinced SpaceX to develop the of the Falcon 9’s first stage. It’s in fact by far the rocket’s most expensive part being the biggest and because it’s equipped with 9 engines therefore its reuse saves many millions on the cost of a launch.
This launch comes two weeks after the previous one by SpaceX, another record for the shortest time between two launches. This is the third SpaceX launch in just over a month because one of Elon Musk’s goals is to accomplish many launches to make them a real routine. The business side is critical because more launches means more profits for the company but it also means a lot of progress.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage did its job and after the second stage successfully separated it landed for the second time on the “Of course I still love you” dron ship. It will be brought back to the mainland and subjected to a new series of checks and tests to understand how it endured its second mission.
There’s no information about the possibility that this first stage might be used for a third mission. The recycling process must be improved by limiting the need for refurbishing as much as possible. The costs of the launches will be heavily reduced when a first stage will be used for several launches. In any case, history was made.