Launch, land, and launch again.
SpaceX just reused one of its previously flown rocket boosters, sending it to space for the second time before landing it back on Earth again.
This Falcon 9 booster was first used for a cargo mission to the International Space Station in February. This marks SpaceX’s 18th rocket landing in the company’s history.
Before coming back down for its landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, the first stage of the Falcon 9 sent a communications satellite on its way to orbit, lifting off from Cape Canaveral at 6:53 p.m. ET.
SpaceX also launched and landed another rocket on Monday, making this a pretty busy week for the Elon Musk-founded company.
But Musk wants this kind of cadence to be par for the course.
The company’s main goal is to make spaceflight more accessible through reusability, bringing rockets back to Earth after multiple launches, refurbishing them and then launching again.
SpaceX is well on its way toward making this goal a reality. It only took the spaceflight company about 8 months to get the Falcon 9 rocket used tonight into good shape after its first launch and landing earlier this year.
Ideally, that time between launches of individual boosters will continue to come down, allowing the company to launch even more payloads at a lower cost.
The company has launched more rockets this year than in any year past, and landing boosters is becoming seemingly routine. This mission marks SpaceX’s 15th of the year.
This is a welcome change from last year, when SpaceX experienced a major setback — A Falcon 9 rocket blew up during what should have been a routine test. The accident put the company’s launch plans on hold for months. They appear to have come back stronger than ever.