Last December 21, SpaceX made history when its Falcon 9 rocket landed safely in Cape Canaveral, Florida where the rocket also initially launched. The occasion marks the first time a rocket has been recovered intact following an orbital flight. Elon Musk, CEO and CTO for SpaceX, has since gushed about the feat his company achieved following the landing as reported by NBC News.
"No one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact" exclaimed Musk to reporters.
However, less than a month after the Falcon 9's momentous ground landing, news about a second launch and landing attempt have made its way online. According to a tweet by space journalist, Charles Lurio, SpaceX would try to land a Falcon 9 on a drone ship after launching it from Vandenberg less than a week from today.
"SpaceX will try to land the Falcon 9 first stage on a drone ship during the Jason-3 launch from Vandenberg AFB on January 17" read his tweet sent out last week.
SpaceX has since confirmed the news. However according to the company the upcoming launch would not be featuring the same Falcon 9 that made the historic landing last December. Elon Musk has previously confirmed that the Falcon 9 would be kept as a historic mantle piece for his space project.
"I think we'll probably keep this one on the ground, just [because] it's kind of unique, it's the first one we've brought back" explained Musk.
The rocket landing is a significant advancement since previously rockets sent into space are designed for one time use. A rocket like the Falcon 9 costs around $60 million each before fuel. Fuel on the other hand usually costs another $200,000. Reusable rockets would make sending objects to outside the earth a more cost effective ordeal and might eventually lead to commercial space travel.