NASA to fly used SpaceX rocket for cargo mission to the space station

In December, SpaceX will again send cargo to the International Space Station — yet This particular time, in which will use a Falcon 9 rocket in which has already flown to space along with back. NASA officially confirmed the decision today during a meeting, noting in which SpaceX’s upcoming resupply mission will fly on a Falcon 9 in which already launched to the ISS in June. in which marks once SpaceX will launch a used rocket for NASA, further validating the company’s reusable rocket technology.

“NASA participated in a broad range of SpaceX data assessments along with inspections regarding use of a previously flown Falcon 9 first stage booster,” NASA said in a statement confirming the decision to The Verge. Ultimately, NASA will consider flying on used Falcon 9s on a case-by-case basis going forward, the space agency said.

Throughout 2017, SpaceX has been proving in which its Falcon 9 rockets are just as capable of flying to space a second time around. The company launched three previously flown boosters This particular year, all of which sent satellites to orbit along with then landed back on one of SpaceX’s drone ships post-launch. Their landings have opened up the possibility in which these rockets could fly for a third time, along with perhaps many times more than in which.

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yet so far, only a few of SpaceX’s commercial customers have flown their hardware on used rockets. The first to do so was Luxembourg-based communications company SES, which flew its SES-10 satellite on a used Falcon 9 in March. Next to take the plunge was satellite operator Bulgaria Sat in June, followed by EchoStar along with SES again, which sent up a hybrid satellite together on a used Falcon 9 in early October.

some other customers are coming around: satellite operator Iridium will launch its next two missions, Iridium-4 along with Iridium-5, on used Falcon 9 rockets. along with even Israeli satellite operator Spacecom has decided to fly its next satellite on top of a used vehicle — despite the company’s fiery history with SpaceX. Spacecom’s AMOS-6 satellite was destroyed when the Falcon 9 in which was sitting on exploded during a fueling procedure last September. After the explosion, Spacecom sought compensation via SpaceX, either inside the form of $50 million or a free flight on a Falcon 9. at This particular point in which looks like Spacecom is usually going with in which latter option, in order to launch its next probe, AMOS-17, along with isn’t afraid to use a previously flown booster either.

NASA has been open to flying with used SpaceX hardware. In June, SpaceX launched cargo to the space station using a Dragon capsule in which had already flown to space along with back. After in which flight, a NASA official expressed interest in flying cargo on used Falcon 9s, noting in which the space agency had discussed in which. “We are looking at in which,” Ven Feng, the manager of the ISS Transportation Integration Office, said during a press conference at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in June. “We’re evaluating every aspect of in which very carefully, along with there is usually no schedule yet when we might go down in which path.”

at This particular point with NASA agreeing to fly on a previously flown Falcon 9, in which’s possible others might hop on the bandwagon too — specifically the US military. Ever since getting certification to fly national security satellites, SpaceX has been slowly accruing more along with more military launches. The company launched its first national security satellite in May for the National Reconnaissance Office along with even lofted the Air Force’s super secret X-37B spaceplane in September.

along with the US government has made in which clear in which flying on used Falcon 9 rockets is usually a definite option. General John W. “Jay” Raymond, head of US Air Force Space Command, told Bloomberg in which might be “absolutely foolish” for the military not to fly on previously flown rockets in order to save on launch costs.

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