On Sunday morning in Florida (5:26 am GMT), Space X repeated the exploit for the 6th time by getting back the first stage of its rocket Falcon 9 intended to position in geostationary orbit (36 000 km in height) a Japanese communications satellite (JCSAT-16).
It is possible to relive the complete launch and the recovery of the first stage below:
The First stage of the rocket constituted by the reservoirs of liquid ergols and 9 Merlin engines pushing the rocket, is the most expensive element, so, get back it would allow to reduce drastically the costs of launches according to the American firm SpaceX. It still remains to be proved that the re-use of this first stage is economically viable in view of the costs engendered by the restoration and the check of engines after use. July 29th of this year, SpaceX made static tests on the first stage of a falcon rocket 9 recovered from a previous launch. The recovered stage worked “normally” during approximately 2min 30s on the launch pad, the time required for putting a satellite in orbit. However, the American firm did not communicate on the engendered costs…
It is possible to see again the test below:
The billionaire, Elon Musk, announced recently on twitter that a recovered stage of a falcon 9 will be reused for the launch of a satellite in September or October, 2016 besides the launch of the first one Falcon Heavy, the heavy launcher of SpaceX, which should be launched by the end of the year even at the beginning of 2017.
At the same time, Space X gets ready to test its new super engines “Raptor” on the site of the American company in Texas. These engines fueled by cryogenic methane (liquid methane) and liquid oxygen are 9 times as powerful as Merlin engines, and will equip the first intended rockets, at first, in uninhabited flights toward Mars before 2018 according to Elon Musk. The boss of the company will tell us more on his colonization program of the red planet during the international astronautics conference which will be held in Guadalajara, in Mexico next September.