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posted by Dopefish on Friday February 21 2014, @05:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the rocket-kits-are-awesome-these-days dept.

WildWombat writes:

" reports that the next Falcon 9 flight will attempt a soft splashdown off the coast of Florida to test its newly installed landing legs. If successful, this will be a major step along the path to a reusable rocket.

The flight, CRS-3, is an ISS resupply mission scheduled for March 16th. The pace of SpaceX technology development is truly impressive."

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by dr_zaius on Friday February 21 2014, @11:21PM

    by dr_zaius (1139) on Friday February 21 2014, @11:21PM (#4598)

    SpaceX is already shaking up the launch market with costs significantly below the competition -- roughly $54 million to low Earth orbit on an expendable Falcon 9. If the first stage can be made reusable, launch costs to low Earth orbit could potentially be driven down to $10 million or less. Even lower if the second stage can be made recoverable as well. Fuel costs are a vehicle such as the Falcon 9 are in the range of $300,000. Therefore the great majority of expense in a launch is in the boosters which up until now are discarded and can't be amortized over time.

    Reusable rockets could potentially open up space just as the railroads once opened up the West. An expendable rocket is like a train that is discarded once it reaches its destination. A reusable rocket allows access to space to operate on the same economics of a train that transfer goods over and over again for the cost of maintenance and fuel. This would be a revolutionary change in the economics of getting into space.

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