Enlarge / The “flight proven” Falcon 9 rocket sits on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (credit: SES)
Update: SpaceX did it.
Its flown booster launched on Thursday evening from Florida, delivered its payload into orbit, and then returned safely to Earth by landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.
During a brief interview on the SpaceX webcast, company founder Elon Musk was almost at a loss for words. “It’s been 15 years to get to this point,” he said. “It’s taken us a long time.
A lot of difficult steps along the way.”
Ars will have a comprehensive, new story posted later tonight.
Original story: This evening, nearly a full year after it first launched a payload into orbit, a Falcon 9 booster will attempt a second launch.
Some might call this a “used” or “reused” rocket, but in a wonderful marketing euphemism, SpaceX has characterized the booster as “flight proven.” One day, clearly, rocket manufacturers like SpaceX and Blue Origin hope to convince satellite operators that used rockets are, in fact, more reliable than new ones.
Read 4 remaining paragraphs