Well, of all kinds of things we expected to reuse one day, rockets were certainly near the bottom of the list. However, its been made possible today thanks in no small part to the efforts of Elon Musk led SpaceX. The company has already managed to successfully land and store several of its rockets and guess what? The company is ready to send them to space again and it is Luxembourg based satellite company SES, that will be providing the payload.
SES confirmed the news through an official blogpost, and said,
SES (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) and SpaceX announced today they have reached an agreement to launch SES-10 on a flight-proven Falcon 9 orbital rocket booster.
The flight is expected to take place sometime later this year and is bound to have a lot of eyes trained upon it. While SpaceX has finally managed to hone its rocket landing skills to perfection, it has yet to reuse them. This will be an opportunity for the company to prove that rockets can indeed be reused without any complications.
The logic behind reusing rockets is pretty simple. Building a single rocket costs millions of dollars and by being able to reuse them, SpaceX will be saving itself a significant amount of money, while also improving the number of rockets it actually has available for service at a given time.
The satellite that will form a part of the rocket’s payload will be in a geostationary orbit and will be able to give SES’s capabilities across Latin America a boost. It will be used for the Simón Bolivar 2 satellite network and will replace the capacity currently provided by SES’s AMC-3 and AMC-4 satellites.
The SES-10 is currently in the process of being built by Airbus Defence and Space and is based on the Eurostar E3000 platform. Along with all the usual paraphernalia, it will also pack an electric plasma propulsion system for on-orbit maneuverer.
SES had previously been pretty vocal about its desire to partner up with SpaceX’s program to reuse rockets. The association between these two companies is pretty time tested as well and SES was actually the first commercial satellite operator to launch with SpaceX in 2013 on it’s maiden mission to geostationary orbit.
Speaking on the topic, Martin Halliwell, Chief Technology Officer at SES said,
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. This new agreement reached with SpaceX once again illustrates the faith we have in their technical and operational expertise.
Apart from this flight with SES, SpaceX is also planning to triple its launch frequency by the year end, a feat in which the reusable rockets it has stored up over the course of the year, are likely to play an extremely important role.