The endgame for both Blue Origin and SpaceX is to significantly reduce the costs of space travel. In the case of Blue Origin, the company is looking to send well-heeled individuals into space to experience brief moments of weightlessness, while SpaceX is aiming higher with military and commercial “heavy lift” launches.
With this in mind, last month’s successful test of the Falcon 9 means that SpaceX is well on its way using a single rocket booster stage for multiple launches. SpaceX CEO took to Instagram yesterday, posting an image of the history-making Falcon 9. The caption for the image reads:
Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again.
The fact that initial inspections show that no damage was found on the Falcon 9 after it was subjected to the sustained Gs, stresses, and vibrations of launching into orbit is good news for SpaceX. According to the company, it costs roughly $16 million to build the Falcon 9 and $200,000 to refuel it. Removing the $16 million cost out of the equation (along with minimal refurbishments) for subsequent launches is a huge accomplishment.
That the Falcon 9 is also already being prepped for another test fire to prove also bids well for the program. But don’t get too excited about the prospects of this particular Falcon 9 making a return trip to the launch pad for another flight. SpaceX previously stated that this particular Falcon 9 would be used for future engine tests at pad 39A, after which it will probably be placed in a museum for future generations to admire.
In other SpaceX news, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin made some rather complimentary comments about Musk’s successful launch. “The main goal today is to make space cheap,” said Rogozin in a recent interview with Rossiya 24 TV. “Competitors are stepping on our toes. Look at what billionaire Musk is doing with his projects. This is very interesting, well done, and we treat this work with respect.”