SpaceX's Historic Falcon 9 Rocket Ready To Fire Again

Elon Musk definitely knows how to end the year with anticipation for the next one. Right on New Year's Day, the illustrious CEO of SpaceX and Tesla posted on social media that the Falcon 9 rocket that made history by landing safe and sound on the ground after an orbital launch shows no sign of damage and is ready to fire again. That is, if it does fire again, since Musk also earlier hinted that the rocket might, instead, spend the remainder of its life in a museum.

Musk is, understandably, in a dilemma. On the one hand, it isn't known when SpaceX will be able to make another safe landing, making this Falcon 9 still one of a kind and a valuable piece of history that probably deserves a cozy pedestal. On the other hand, landing a rocket back to earth in one piece is really only half the promise, the other half being able to reuse it. If the Falcon 9 rocket isn't able to successfully launch again and safely land again, then SpaceX's entire spiel would be moot.

The promise of reusable rockets is a big one for the space travel industry. For example, something like the Falcon 9 takes around $16 billion to make. The costs of making such a rocket every time there is a launch would itself reach high heavens in no time. Being able to safely land that part of the rocket back to earth to be reused over and over again isn't just a luxury, it is a necessity for a sustainable future for space exploration and tourism.

That is exactly what SpaceX is promising to bring, a promise that finally got half fulfilled last month. While the Blue Origin, backed by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, made headlines by beating Musk to the punch, its New Shepherd rocket only reached suborbital heights, that is, barely touching the edge of outer space. Falcon 9's mission, however, took it an orbital launch just like any regular commercial mission.

It is still unknown which two paths Musk will proceed with regards to this Falcon 9's future. It could very well just preserve this first successful rocket in a museum while creating a new one that would be launched, landed safely, and launched again. That, however, will take more time and definitely more money and it isn't know how much of either SpaceX has left to spare.

SOURCE: Elon Musk