Reusing Previously Flown First Stage, SpaceX Successfully Launches Satellites With Falcon 9

| February 23 , 2018 , 14:20 IST

One of the major facets of lowering the costs for space launches is reusing components, an aspect that private sector space firm SpaceX has tried and tested in the past. On Thursday, SpaceX once again reused a first stage to successfully launch a Falcon 9 rocket from California along with an Earth-observation satellite built for Spain and 2 experimental satellites for internet service.

The same first stage had been used last August to launch a satellite for Taiwan and was recovered by landing it on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

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The first stage was not recovered again after the Thursday launch and fell into the sea, as the first stage was an earlier version and SpaceX is "making room" for a new version which would be capable of rapid reuse many times.

The main payload for the Falcon 9 rocket was the PAZ satellite for Spanish satellite operator Hisdesat and carried advanced instruments for making radar images of the Earth for governmental and commercial purposes. The other two small test satellites that were launched are a part of a proposed system to bring internet to remote areas.

SpaceX achieved a successful landing and recovery of a first stage in December 2015 for the first time. The recovered first stage was launched again in March 2017 and once again in June 2017. Apart from the first stage, two boosters were also recovered and reused in December 2017.