SpaceX performed a critical static firing of one of its boosters on tuesday evening. This exact same booster launched a cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station last April. This is the Falcon 9 rocket the company plans to use for its first-ever re-flight of an orbital rocket stage.
SpaceX has previously disclosed that its customer for the launch will be Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES, which wants to launch its geostationary satellite SES-10. Although no launch date has been set for the flight but innovative rocket company has now returned seven boosters to Earth, by land and sea, during the last 13months. However, the promise of reusable rockets won’t be fulfilled until launch vehicles can be swiftly refurbished andlaunched again.
A March launch would mean an 11-month turnaround, which is far from optimal, but understandable for the first time. It now seems likely that SpaceX will fly the landed boosters it currently has, at most once or twice, before retiring them, instead of multiple times. Although the company hasn’t elaborated on the problems with the engines, booster structure, or composite materials that have shown wear and tear after their orbital launches and returns,F9 boosters could be used almost indefinitely, so long as there is scheduled maintenance and careful inspections.