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SpaceX has entered a new stage of reusability

July 23, 2018

The rocket company will now be attempting to land and reuse all the rockets it launches.

Over the weekend … SpaceX launched and landed its second Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The landing of this rocket, designed with reusability in mind, marks the beginning of a completely recyclable era of rockets for the company.

Special delivery: Onboard the rocket was the Telstar 19 Vantage satellite, which SpaceX launched into orbit for the Canadian satellite operator.

It’s just rocket science: The Block 4, the company’s earlier rocket, was designed to be used only a few times. The Block 5 can be used hundreds of times if recovered successfully. Now that the company has fully transitioned to this more reusable model, rocket recovery will be an even more crucial part of the launch. In a two-week period, the company is planning five recoveries.

What’s next: The Block 5 is undergoing upgrades that will add helium tanks to the launch vehicle. This upgraded version is what SpaceX plans to use to launch humans to the International Space Station. Once the alterations are complete, seven test flights will take place before astronauts can hitch a ride. And while SpaceX is taking strides toward crewed spaceflight, its competitor Boeing is hitting some setbacks.

This story first appeared in our daily tech newsletter, The Download. Sign up here.

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