SpaceX has pulled off one of the most revolutionary rocket launches in the history of space travel. The American company confirmed that at 6.27 PM on Thursday it launched the 220-Foot tall Falcon Rocket into space. The job for the two stage rocket was to actually deliver a telecoms satellite into space but that is not the most amazing thing. After a few minutes of launching, the first stage booster from the rocket fell back to earth. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that this was an amazing day in the history of space as a whole and reaffirmed that this had been his dream for 15 years.
So, why is this that important anyway? Well, to start with, the rocket booster is the most expensive and, in fact, the largest part of any rocket. Musk added that the booster that was used for this launch had already launched before and landed back on earth on April 8, 2016. Yet again, the same was repeated this time around. According to Musk, the rocket booster detached again from its payload and descended back to earth before safely landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
This is the first time in the history of space exploration and aeronautics that a commercial liquid fueled orbital rocket has successfully detached from the payload and the booster recovered safely and was reused for other launches. It is also the first time that any part of a rocket has been recovered safely and reused. Musk added that this was a very big day for space science and even though it has been in the works for 15 years, to see it come to life is a great feeling.
The Importance of This Launch
The aim of the launch on Thursday was to essentially get a telecoms satellite 22,000 miles above the planet into orbit. However, the most important thing about the launch was the first stage rocket booster. The cost of creating a rocket booster can reach somewhere in the tens of millions of dollars. Most of the time, the booster after delivering the payload often burns off, crashes to the ground, or dives somewhere in the ocean not to be found again, creating a huge loss.
The launch on Thursday by SpaceX is a big leap forward that allows rocket boosters to be launched, recovered safely after delivering the payload, and reused for future launches. This will save tens of millions of dollars for space exploration and aeronautical companies. The move has been termed absolutely revolutionary because of the implications it will have in reducing the often steep cost of space exploration and space travel.
SpaceX’s COO, Gwynne Shotwell, also noted that the idea of reusing the booster on the Falcon 9 rockets would save almost 30% in launch costs. In addition to this, the fact that the booster landed precisely where it was meant to land also highlights a major leap in this area. It appears that this launch has just paved the way for affordable space travel that could allow people to live in other planets albeit that is definitely far down the road.