Launching something into space is expensive partly because millions on a rocket just to ultimately throw it away. SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space exploration company, has a goal: to make rockets that can launch and land over and over again. They’ve gotten the landing part right, but what about launching a rocket for a second time? We’re about to find out.
The entire plan behind Elon Musk’s mission to Mars leans on being able to turn rockets, heretofore expensive and finicky things that are prone to explode, into bus rides, really, and make it possible to offer discounts on the millions it costs to launch one. But shoving something into space puts incredible stress on the structure, so the question is whether a tune-up is enough, or if the rocket won’t be able to handle a second flight. If it can, then all’s good. If not, the work of figuring out just why will begin pretty much immediately.
Fortunately, SpaceX has a volunteer for their certified pre-owned rocket in SES, a satellite company based in Luxembourg that’s been campaigning to be the guinea pig for this particular mission. We’ll find out whether Space X can relaunch its rockets on Thursday, when the Falcon 9 launches from Kennedy Space Center.
(Via The Verge)