SpaceX launches first reusable capsule and rocket

Enlarge  This is SpaceX's 13 supply mission to the International Space

For years, SpaceX has landed its rockets and collected them, but this is the first time it's reused a rocket for a NASA mission.

Eventually, SpaceX hopes to be able to land and turn around rockets for reuse in under 24 hours, to help it service commercial clients quickly and effectively.

"We're very comfortable that the risk posture on this vehicle is not significantly greater than a new booster", he said at the pre-launch briefing. This is the first time the company flew both a used rocket and a used Dragon capsule on the same launch. SpaceX couldn't fully focus on the upgrades to 39A while repairs were still being done at SLC-40. The Dragon is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station early December 17.

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Moving forward, the company plans to launch its Falcon 9 missions from SLC-40 and its Falcon Heavy flights from 39A. This marks SpaceX's 20th landing to-date.

In pic: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from newly refurbished Pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Included on board is a sensor created to monitor how much space debris is surrounding the station, as well as another sensor that's supposed to measure how much sunlight reaches the Earth.

The launch was originally scheduled to occur earlier this week, but it was delayed twice - once for additional prelaunch ground checks and a second time to conduct full inspections and cleanings after SpaceX detected particles in the rocket's second-stage fuel system.

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As live images showed the first stage glide down, steady and upright, from the air to the launchpad, cheers erupted at SpaceX's Hawthorne, California headquarters, where employees regularly gather to watch rocket launches.

The launch took place this morning at 10:36 AM Eastern time after a number of delays. There are some clouds at the launch site, but overall weather conditions appear favorable for a liftoff today.

When asked what kind of edge reusability gives SpaceX above its competitors during a post launch conference in 2016, Elon Musk commented that "The cost to refuel our rocket is only $200,000 to $300,000 dollars, but the cost of the rocket itself is $60 million". The launch was originally scheduled for December 4, and then for Tuesday and Wednesday but was postponed.

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