Sending a used rocket into space

30 March, 2017, 01:38 | Author: Jacqueline Ellis

"I don't know if it'll be historic, as SpaceX will be under pressure to do this not just more than once but many times", he said. Inmarsat is a SpaceX customer, and Franci says if launch costs come down, companies like his could launch more satellites, more often and build a better network. But this week is a big one.

The Falcon 9's first stage will separate after a 2.5-minute burn to send the satellite on its trajectory towards orbit. After flying more than 4,000 miles per hour and descending from about 460,000 feet, the first stage of the Falcon 9 used small thrusters to align itself for landing and then fired its main engines to slow as it reentered the atmosphere, landing on the autonomous drone ship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean. And SpaceX has hinted at offering a 30 percent discount for payloads on its reused rockets.

However, it helped us appreciate how hard SpaceX engineers must have worked to get it right.

While SpaceX and SES did not disclose terms of their contract for the SES 10 launch, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said previous year the launch provider was offering a 10 percent discount for customers willing to fly their payloads on reused boosters.

Thursday evening (March 30th), SpaceX will attempt to make history once more with the first launch of a reusable rocket. Since then, it has been subjected to exhaustive tests and checkout, including an engine test firing Monday, to clear the way for its second launch.

The launch is now set for March 30, with a launch window opening at 6:27 PM EDT (3:27 PM PTD). Rain isn't the issue. On Thursday, winds and thick layer clouds ahead of the storm system are the concerns. You can keep tabs on them here.

Luxembourg-based SES and Hawthrone, CA-based SpaceX jointly announced the agreement to "launch SES-10 on a flight-proven Falcon 9 orbital rocket booster".

Basically, SES-10 will hover over the same point for the duration of its mission.

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The satellite has three beams on board: one for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, a beam from Mexico to just south of Argentina, and a third beam for Brazil for HDTV, Halliwell said.

This week's launch has a lot of moving parts.

Being able to re-use the rocket booster rather than having to make new ones from scratch could have an vast impact on the cost of successive launches.

SpaceX's entire philosophy revolves around the concept of reusability. Without it, the costs of launching payloads to space will be too high to support its grand vision of making even interplanetary journeys affordable for everyone. The booster will then be strapped down and returned to the Cape for more testing. Of Course I Still Love You will be waiting patiently in the Atlantic Ocean for the first stage rocket. That first stage possess nine rocket engines, while the second stage has only one engine.

Things are generally looking good for the big launch. Reusability promises to reduce the exorbitant costs of aerospace.

A booster, which is usually the most expensive part of a two-stage rocket, can cost tens of millions of dollars, according to Business Insider.

I'll keep this post updated if there is any change in the timing for this week's launch.


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