One of the goals in the rocketry ethos of SpaceX is reusability – This past year they have seemingly mastered the art of landing a booster back on Earth and, if need be, onto ocean barges (quite an incredible thing when you think about how rough ocean waters are). Later this evening, they plan on re-launching a recovered booster, the same Falcon 9 1st stage which launched the CRS-8 mission to the International Space Station back in April, 2016.
I have my criticisms of SpaceX, to be sure, but this is still an important event. Not only is this YET ANOTHER launch from LC-39A, with them basically launching once a month from the complex, but this mission will show that SpaceX can successfully refurbish one of their boosters and fly it again, resulting in at least some cost savings compared to single-use disposable boosters.
I’ve actually been quite cynical of SpaceX for having not yet re-flown a booster, but it looks like today will show if they have things down, or if they need more work. In all seriousness, as much as I think SpaceX is over-rated, and Elon Musk has a “cult of personality” surrounding him already, I hope for success here so that future boosters from all companies, and nations, can be built with re-usability in mind, as was a dream even back in the 1960’s with the Saturn rockets.
Stay tuned, I’ll be covering the launch later tonight, after it’s all said and done – that is, presuming it does happen. Could always have a hold due to something and a scrub for the day.