Elon Musk and SpaceX have just made history by successfully launching a completely recycled spacecraft for the first time.
The space flight company flew a mission using refurbished parts from a spacecraft which had previously flown.
And this is no test mission, the CRS-13 is a resupply mission to the International Space Station, meaning SpaceX will be working with NASA even more in the future.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 15, 2017
This is significant, as the majority of the costs of space travel come from designing and constructing new materials for each mission.
SpaceX reused a Falcon 9 rocket, according to Futurism, and placed a previously launched Dragon cargo capsule to reduce costs.
The capsule delivered 2,000kg of cargo to the ISS including both supplies for the station and research gear for the crew.
Among this delivery is a pair of sensors to monitor the amount of space junk surrounding the station as well as measuring the amount of sunlight which is reaching Earth.
This mission was announced last week, when Musk posted a photo gallery of the last mission each part of the spacecraft took part in.
The Dragon model craft has been used since 2012 as a part of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services program to regularly resupply the ISS, Futurism reports.
Falcon 9 first stage has landed at Landing Zone 1 — SpaceX’s 20th recovery of a first stage booster. pic.twitter.com/DHLAf7hq7t
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) December 15, 2017
It’s such a huge advancement for reusable space technology because so many resources and so much money is wasted as old spacecrafts sit collecting dust.
SpaceX has launched a refurbished Dragon capsule in the past, its first in June 2017, but pairing it with a reusable orbital rocket is very new and will undoubtedly cut a lot of cost.
Reusable technology allows SpaceX to host cheaper launches and therefore allows access to greater spaceflight capabilities.
Elon Musk previously announced that launches with reusable rockets are $300 million cheaper than conventional launches.
With these developments along with the repair of one of SpaceX’s launchpads which was damaged during an explosion last year, the number of launches the company completes will rise.
Musk has introduced a spectacular turnaround time for rockets, saying he aims to have them refurbished for reuse in just 24 hours after landing from a mission.
The future is here people.