Science

SpaceX will relaunch one of its rockets this fall

One of the rockets that SpaceX sent into space and successfully brought back to Earth will be returned to space this fall, a technological feat that will significantly cut costs for the private company.

Company successfully landed 4 rockets since December

Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder, tweeted this photo of the four recovered rockets. They are all now in the company's hangar at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Elon Musk/Twitter)

One of the rockets that SpaceX sent into space and successfully brought back to Earth will be returned to space this fall — a technological feat that will significantly cut costs, potentially making space travel more accessible.

Founded by Tesla Motors's Elon Musk, SpaceX had been attempting to land the unmanned rockets on an ocean platform for months without success. In some cases, the rocket toppled over like an unstable Jenga tower or, worse, burst into flames.

But in April, their Falcon 9 rocket not only successfully helped deliver supplies to the International Space Station, it also returned to Earth and finally made a successful landing.

The company did it again in early May after launching a Japanese satellite into orbit.

And later in May, the company landed its third rocket at sea.

The company has now successfully landed four rockets. Its first successful landing was on solid ground — an easier feat than at sea — at Cape Canaveral in Florida in December. 

The four rockets are now together in a hangar at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX is the only company to successfully recover a rocket after transporting supplies or satellites into space. Rival company Blue Origin, founded by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, landed a rocket in November, but that rocket had not transported any supplies.

These landings have paved the way for Musk's company to reuse the rockets, which saves money (rockets aren't cheap). Musk has also said this will help make space more accessible.

He said he plans to relaunch one of the rockets in September or October, scaling back from his previous estimate of June.

Since the company has already worked with NASA on its delivery to the ISS, Musk has said he hopes to work with the agency further by transporting astronauts to the space station.

In what seems like a science fiction dream that could soon come true, Musk also announced that he wants to send a revamped Dragon capsule to Mars and create a habitat in which humans could live. 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the Falcon 9 will go into orbit once again. It will not go into orbit but to space. It has helped to launch other objects, like satellites, into orbit.
    Jun 10, 2016 5:33 PM ET

With files from The Associated Press

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