By Kerry SHERIDAN
Miami (AFP) March 30, 2017
SpaceX blasted off a recycled rocket for the first time on Thursday, using a booster that had previously flown cargo to the astronauts living at the International Space Station.
The rocket rose into the sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 6:27 pm (2227 GMT), on a mission to send a communications satellite for Luxembourg-based company SES into a distant orbit.
"No one has ever done this before," said SpaceX chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell in a video statement released ahead of the launch.
"This is a historic event."
The white Falcon 9 rocket contained a tall and slightly scuffed, columnar portion known as the first stage, or booster, which propelled the unmanned Dragon cargo ship to space in April 2016, then returned to an upright landing on an ocean platform.
SpaceX, the California-based company headed by visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk, has for 15 years been honing the technology of powering its boosters back to careful Earth landings on solid ground and in the water.
About 10 minutes after launch, cheers erupted at SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California as the re-used rocket powered its engines and landed upright on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean marked with the words "Of Course I Still Love You."
The landing marked the ninth successful touchdown of a first stage rocket for SpaceX - six on ocean platforms, or drone ships, and three on land.
The goal of the entire effort, Musk has said, is to make rocket parts just as reusable as cars, planes or bicycles.
It is also a key part of his plan to one day establish human colonies on Mars.
Currently, millions of dollars' worth of rocket parts are jettisoned after each launch.
SpaceX officials have said that reusing hardware could slash costs -- with each Falcon 9 launch costing over $61 million -- by about 30 percent.
SpaceX competitor Blue Origin, run by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, has also successfully landed its New Shepard booster after launch, by powering its engines to guide it down for a controlled, upright landing.
However, he dismissed "naysayers" this week and stressed the historic nature of the launch on what he has described as a "flight-proven" rocket.
"I think we are on the edge of quite a significant bit of history here," he told a news conference.
"Now we are here to be the first-ever mission to fly on a pre-flown booster," he said.
"This is obviously hugely exciting."
When the mission was announced in August, Halliwell said the deal "illustrates the faith we have in (SpaceX's) technical and operational expertise."
The SES-10 satellite will be sent to a geostationary transfer orbit, flying as high as 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) above Earth.
The satellite aims to expand television, internet and mobile connections across Latin America.
San Francisco (AFP) March 28, 2017
Not content to reach for Mars and dethrone fossil fuels, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk on Tuesday is turning his focus to delving into people's minds. In a message fired off Tuesday on Twitter, Musk appeared to confirm he is creating a startup called Neuralink devoted to enabling brains to interface directly with computers, accessing processing power and perhaps even downloading memories for s ... read more
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|