SpaceX To Launch Used Rocket For First Time

SpaceX plans to launch a previously-used rocket for the first time — a crucial step toward the private spaceflight company's space travel ambitions.

(Image credit: SpaceX)
(Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX this week plans to launch a previously-used rocket for the first time — a crucial step toward the private spaceflight company's lofty space travel ambitions.

Bloomberg reports that the Falcon 9 rocket set to launch Thursday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., was first used in an April 2016 launch then successfully landed aboard a drone ship floating off the Florida coast.

Since the dawn of space exploration, rockets used to deliver satellites, humans and supplies into orbit and beyond were allowed to crash back to Earth. SpaceX, however, designed the Falcon 9 with a booster to cushion an upright landing back on the Earth's surface.

The company's first attempts to land its rockets were often met with spectacular explosions, but SpaceX eventually landed eight rockets back on Earth since the end of 2015.

Using a rocket for a second time, scientists said, would mark a watershed moment for space exploration.

In addition to dramatically reducing the costs of space flight, reusable rockets could enable easier exploration of deeper space.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk envisions sending the first explorers to Mars in about a decade and, in subsequent decades, colonizing the planet.

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