Another Historic SpaceX Launch This Week, Here's What You Need to Know

Camille Francis
March 29, 2017

Following up on its earlier success at NASA's Cape Canaveral launch pad, SpaceX is set to send yet another rocket to space, and potentially achieving something that has yet to be seen in the space industry: re-using a rocket. SpaceX was contracted to deliver to orbit SES-10 communications satellite to orbit.

After launching SES-10, SpaceX will again try to land the booster at sea, though Halliwell said the mission launching the satellite on its way to an orbit more than 22,000 miles up was "right at the limit" of being able to pull off a second landing.

Landing rockets back on Earth after using them for transport to space is pretty impressive on its own, but it's not worth much if those same rockets don't go back to space.

SpaceX has demonstrated multiple times that it's capable of landing its reusable Falcon 9 rocket back on solid ground.

SpaceX will make history by re-launching a used rocket this week. It will represent the first time the company has done so.

"Gwynne has promised us parts of the rocket", Halliwell said. The launch window is open from 6:00-8:30 pm ET. It landed successfully on an unmanned drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. This isn't just a regular launch for Elon Musk and the gang.

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The Falcon 9 rocket scheduled to take off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, has flown before, marking the first time Space Exploration Technologies will reuse one of the 14-story-tall boosters it recovered from past missions. It's heading to geostationary orbit, and will hover above Earth at a longitude of 67 degrees West, where it will provide communications services to Latin America.

According to the latest weather forecast from the United States Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there is an 70% percent chance overall of acceptable weather conditions for Thursday's launch. The rocket's engines and tanks are the most expensive part of the vehicle to make, whereas refueling and refurbishing the vehicle could cost as little as a few million dollars.

Reports say that SpaceX mastered drone ship landing since it will require lesser fuels on board compared to landing on launch pads where the mission began.

The move, also known as a "hot-fire" test, is a routine pre-flight practice for the company to assist engineers in gauging the rocket's readiness for launch. But all of those missions went to suborbital, not orbital, space.

"I think Elon's given us 24 hours, maybe, to get done what we need to get done, and it's not a million people around a rocket scurrying like a beehive or an anthill", said Shotwell.

Other reports by My Hot News

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