For the first time in history, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX is poised to launch a recycled rocket back into orbit around Earth — a milestone move that could drastically cut the cost of getting to space.
On Thursday, March 30, Musk’s private space company announced it will be launching its “flight proven” Falcon 9 rocket — which successfully propelled the Dragon cargo ship to space in 2016 — from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
The two-and-a-half-hour launch window opens at 6:27 p.m. ET tonight and runs through 8:57 p.m. ET, SpaceX announced in a press kit.
The company will be hosting a live stream of the launch on its YouTube page, which will go live Thursday evening:
According to SpaceX, a “rapidly reusable space launch vehicle” could reduce the cost of traveling to space by a hundredfold in the future.
The part of the rocket that is being recycled is its main body, which separates from the top part of the rocket and then barrels back to Earth, NBC News reported.
So far, after 13 attempts, SpaceX has successfully returned eight rockets back to Earth.
But the Falcon 9 rocket launch will be the company’s first time reusing the same booster.
Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, SpaceX’s rival, was the first to launch and land the same rocket twice with its New Shepard rocket in 2016.*