SpaceX Launches SES SA as First Customer For Commercial Reuse Of Falcon 9 Rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - DECEMBER 29: In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), SpaceX's Falcon 9 first stage rocket waits in a hangar on December 29, 2015 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

SpaceX signs up its first customer that’ll launch a used Falcon 9 rocket, and it’s the satellite operator SES SA.

With the Luxembourg-based company on board, it will be the first time that a Falcon 9 rocket is going to be reused commercially.

On that note, the two have worked together before back in 2013, making SES SA as SpaceX’s first commercial customer. Now, this new deal between them is beneficial for both parties, particularly in SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s efforts to downsize the expenditure in launching rockets to space.

“We believe reusable rockets will open up a new era of spaceflight, and make access to space more efficient in terms of cost and manifest management,” Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer at SES, says.

To date, SpaceX has successfully landed six Falcon 9 rockets, and it plans on landing another one after the scheduled launch in Florida of an Israeli communications satellite on Saturday.

On an interesting note, Halliwell has been vocal about wanting to reuse a Falcon 9 rocket back in February, saying that as long as it was flight worthy, the company would be happy.

As for the launch date, SES SA is expected to proceed with plans in late 2016, boarding its SES-10 communications satellite on the purchased Falcon 9 rocket.

“Relaunching a rocket that has already delivered spacecraft to orbit is an important milestone on the path to complete and rapid reusability,” Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX, says.

However, the agreement’s exact details haven’t been revealed, but it’s worth pointing out that Shotwell said before that the firm aimed for a 30 percent discount for flights on used rockets. That means the price is around $43 million per launch.

For a little history of the rocket itself, it was previously used to send a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA back in April, according to John Taylor, a SpaceX spokesperson.

Other plans of SpaceX include sending its first unmanned rocket to Mars in 2018 and launching its first manned mission to Mars in 2025, which Musk says could be possible at an earlier date by 2024.

In summary, SES SA is officially the first customer of SpaceX for launch of a used Falcon 9 rocket, and it would be interesting to see how things will turn out.

Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what you think of this newly inked agreement between SES SA and SpaceX.



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