Space X pre-flown booster in tests

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Space X performed a full-duration test firing on July 28 of the Falcon 9 booster that successfully performed a satellite launch into a geostationary orbit in May of this year before returning to earth and being recovered.

In early May this year, a Falcon 9 rocket from Space X successfully launched the JCSAT-14 commercial communications satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit followed by the successful landing and recovery of the first stage booster on a drone ship in the Atlantic.

This was a significant milestone for Elon Musk’s Space X organization whose business model was to recover the first stage boosters and reuse them for future launches, rather than building new ones at a cost of about US$60m. Cleaning up, checking out and refitting might only cost a few million dollars by comparison.

The booster from the May flight was prepared for reuse and on July 28, Space X performed a full-duration test firing of it at its McGregor, Texas, test facility.

This successful test is a critical component of Space X’s ambitions for reusing boosters.

Later this year, the company plans to fly a mission with a previously flown booster, although not the one which was tested on July 28, which will though continue to be used as a test article. Several boosters have now been recovered after their return-to-earth landings.

A previously used Dragon capsule is also scheduled for use in a flight. To date, only new capsules have flown. Space X plans to send an unmanned Dragon capsule to Mars sometime in 2018.

August 5, 2016

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With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Aerospace Testing International), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

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