In first, SpaceX launches recycled rocket and spaceship

2017-12-16 11:28
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft launches from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral. (NASA via AP)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft launches from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral. (NASA via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Miami - For the first time, SpaceX on Friday launched both a rocket and a cargo ship that have flown before, a step forward in the company's goal to lower the cost of spaceflight.

After the launch the California-based company headed by Internet tycoon Elon Musk landed its rocket booster upright on solid ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

SpaceX has now managed to return 20 of its rocket boosters after launch, whether on land or on a floating ocean platform, as part of its effort to re-use instead of jettison costly rocket components.

"That marks the second successful visit to and from space for this particular booster," said a SpaceX commentator, as live images showed the tall portion of the rocket glide down, upright, from the air to the launchpad.

The recycled Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket blasted off at 10:36 (15:36 GMT).

Three minutes later, the booster and second stage of the rocket separated, as SpaceX's webcast showed the two components making an arc away from each other in the sky.

Then, the second stage continued to propel the Dragon toward the International Space Station, while the tall portion of the rocket powered its engines to guide it back to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

'Rapid and reliability reusability'

It was the 14th recovery of a booster for SpaceX this year alone.

"This is the beginning of rapid and reliability reusability," said SpaceX Dragon mission manager Jessica Jensen, at a press briefing Monday.

The launch was initially set for last Friday but was delayed, as SpaceX said it was "taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to the detection of particles in the second stage fuel system".

The Falcon rocket booster previously propelled a space station resupply mission in June, called CRS-11.

The Dragon capsule was flown to the ISS in 2015.

Friday also marked the fourth time SpaceX is re-flying a used booster for one if its clients.

However, it was the first such effort for NASA, SpaceX's most important customer.

NASA's ISS programme manager Kirk Shireman said rocket experts from around the agency had reviewed safety for the mission.

"The net result is about equivalent risk," he told reporters on Monday.

The unmanned spaceship is packed with 2 200kg of food, supplies and experiments – including one to study thyroid cancer and another to grow barley in space.

The mission is SpaceX's 13th of 20 under a $1.6bn contract with NASA.

The Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the ISS on Sunday.

Read more on:    nasa  |  us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


5 scientific benefits of owning a cat

According to science, just the act of watching cats itself can bring about positive emotions – so it comes as no surprise then, that owning a cat has a number of benefits.



Why we love cats
8 great natural remedies for your pet
How to clean your dog’s eyes
This special pooch inspired his brother to learn to stand again
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.