SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has successfully launched a US spy satellite for the second time. According to SpaceX, this was done in its California-based Vandenberg Space Force Base and was the first orbital-class rocket to launch multiple missions in order to drive down costs. The Sunday launch blasted off on Sunday at 6.13 A.M.
Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket that is reusable and designed for reliable and safe transport of payloads and people into Earth orbit and beyond. It’s the first orbital-class reusable rocket in the world. As mentioned, it is reusable because this allows SpaceX to refly costly parts of the rocket, thus driving the space access cost down.
The previous launch was in 2017 when SpaceX made history for launching a used rocket and landing it in the Atlantic Ocean. This was the sixth successful landing of its rocket on a seaborne platform.
According to the office, SpaceX used the same rocket – NROL-85 satellite – on Sunday it had used in the NRO payload in February. Last year Elon Musk’s company used reused hardware to carry out four astronauts launches in Florida. Reusability was the cornerstone of its business plan as it hoped that recovering and refurbishing hardware would drive its cost of spaceflight down. However, it has now re-flown boosters and spacecraft many times during its satellite and cargo launches.
NRO is the agency that builds and launches satellites in the US to provide intelligence data to the intelligence agencies, lawmakers, and the Defense Department. According to Elon Musk’s aerospace company, a total of 147 Falcon 9 rockets have been launched; however, it’s only 107 that landed, and 87 have been re-flown, which includes the first rocket used twice in 2017.
The rocket flew back to the seaside base located northwest of Los Angeles in the first stage. It was one out of the three satellites that the Air Force had contracted to SpaceX in 2019 at a combined fixed price of about $297 million.