SpaceX made a major step forward in its quest to reuse the rockets it sends into orbit.
The Falcon 9 rocket carried a payload of 11 satellites to orbit last month and returned to Earth with a vertical landing Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the Falcon X didn’t sustain damage and is “ready to fire again.” The company also posted a photo of the Falcon 9 over the weekend, which showed little signs of wear other than some discoloration from dust.
Musk’s focus on building reusable rockets is part of a broader mission to drive down the cost of space exploration. It saves millions of dollars in resources and equipment when rockets can be relaunched with little more than a few weeks of refurbishment, rather than letting them fall into the ocean (as is commonplace with NASA and other space operations).
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is also working to develop reusable rockets through his spaceflight company Blue Origin. Musk and Bezos appear to have grown more competitive in recent months, if these snarky tweets are any indication.