SpaceX launched a communications satellite from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and successfully landed the Falcon 9 rocket onto the ocean platform. The two-stage rocket, in its Full Thrust version, will carry the SES-10 communication satellite into orbit, which will provide television services to Central and South America, along with the Caribbean.
In a first, SpaceX is set to launch a commercial communications satellite using a first-stage rocket booster that previously flew last year.
SpaceX has now landed, as well as launched, Falcon 9 first stages nine times.
SpaceX has launched its first ever recycled rocket, in what was touted as a "huge revolution in spaceflight".
Reusable rockets would cut the cost of space travel significantly. "Falcon 9's first stage for the SES-10 mission previously supported the successful CRS-8 mission in April 2016", the company said in the briefing.
The cost of rebuilding the first stage of a rocket can hit the millions of dollars mark.
"We're not one-way trip to Mars people, we want to make sure people can come back", explained SpaceX president Gwen Shotwell ahead of the launch.
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.
The feat has since been repeated both on land and at sea, but SpaceX has yet to refly one of its used rockets. The rocket travelled over 22,000 miles during that time. As Musk has noted, the New Shepard went out into "space" whereas the Falcon 9 delivers payloads into "orbit", which requires 100 times the energy.
Musk's vision of recycling rockets to lower the cost of access to space crossed a threshold yesterday, but did his client see a monetary benefit as promised?
"This is an incredible day, I think, for space as a whole, for the space industry", SpaceX founder, CEO and CTO Elon Musk stated regarding the historic achievement.
SpaceX had made multiple efforts to successfully recover the booster rocket, but had multiple failures.
Musk is now eyeing a relaunch in 24 hours.
There have been no reports if the Luxembourg-based SES Corp. got a big discount on this launch, testing the reused rocket.