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SpaceX Successfully Launches, Lands Recycled Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX successfully launched and landed a recycled rocket on Thursday, a first for Elon Musk's company and a move that could help slash the cost of cargo transport into space.


It was a one-two punch that went according to plan. After lifting off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida and carrying an SES-10 communications satellite into space, the rocket booster separated and barreled toward Earth, slowing down and sticking a landing on a drone ship parked at sea.

"It's an amazing day I think for space as a whole," Musk said after the landing. "Something can be done that many people said was impossible."

Musk, who said this day was 15 years in the making, compared using a rocket once to throwing away an airplane after one flight.

Musk, who said this day was 15 years in the making, compared using a rocket once to throwing away an airplane after one flight.

SpaceX currently lists the cost of a launch at $ 62 million, though it's unclear how much SES paid for Thursday's pioneering launch — customers have non-disclosure agreements with SpaceX, and the price tag differs according to each customer's needs.

What is being recycled is actually just the 14-story main body of the rocket, which separates from the top part of the rocket and then barrels back to Earth, ideally making a controlled landing on a drone ship parked off the coast of Florida.

Musk, of course, isn't the only one interested in recycling rockets. Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos has also been keeping a lower profile, launching and landing his New Shepard rocket at least five times as the company prepares for a future goal of taking tourists to space.

SpaceX Successfully Launches, Lands Recycled Falcon 9 Rocket

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