SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Is Back on Earth and Ready for More

Elon Musk says it's eady to fire again.

by Sam Blum

The landing of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was a coup for the aerospace industry, both private and state-sponsored. But that doesn’t mean CEO Elon Musk is slowing. SpaceX has been uploading pictures of its pioneering rocket — which looks largely unscathed — to Flickr, and CEO Elon Musk has noted on Instagram that it’s “ready to fire again.”

The Falcon 9, as seen from Earth, after being in space. 

SpaceX Photos/Flickr Creative Commons

The rocket, which vertically landed on Earth after deploying GPS satellites into orbit on December 21, still looks like a shimmering piece of machinery, minus some residual burns it might have accrued while touching its blazing engines down on Earth:

Even still, it seems more than viable that SpaceX will cash-in on the prospect of cheaper spaceflight by using parts of the same rocket for a future mission.

“I think, probably sometime next year, we will aim to re-fly one of the rocket boosters,” Musk told reporters last month.

The largest hurdle for SpaceX — the one that tormented Elon Musk’s psyche — was the very feat of landing a rocket on Earth after reaching an orbital domain of space.

Much of 2015 was fraught with setbacks for SpaceX, chiefly when a Falcon 9 exploded last June, but it seems that the immediate future might be one of promise for the company.

The stage of the Falcon 9 that SpaceX uploaded to Flickr won’t go back into orbit, Musk has said. The company intends to preserve it as a piece of history, or an aerospace artifact, if you will.

Related Tags