Musk wants to reuse more of the Falcon 9 rocket for future flights, and announces next test flight


Despite the odds of successful integration, SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk is considering plans to upcycle parts of the Falcon Heavy rocket for future flights to test before it debuts this summer.

Musk tweeted that he wants to mull over a “Falcon Heavy demo flight for full reusability,” even though the “odds are low.”

More: Elon Musk heralds ‘huge revolution in space travel’ after historic SpaceX mission

Musk also tweeted that the “Falcon Heavy test flight currently scheduled for late summer.”

SpaceX’s effective first-time launch of a recycled rocket of the Falcon 9 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, March 30, 2017 has spawned plans for more parts to be reused this year. That launch recycled a booster that flew cargo to the International Space Station, according to the Guardian.

The recent booster upcycle saved SpaceX an estimated 30 percent on the cost of more than $60 million, according to the Guardian.

When a Twitter follower posed the question, “Is the GTO payload still projected for 22,200 kilograms?” Musk replied, “Looks like it could do 20 percent more with some structural upgrades to handle higher loads. But that’s in fully expendable mode.”

Musk spoke at a press conference after the launch on Thursday in Florida, and said the ideal turnaround for Falcon 9 rocket reuse would be 24 hours, according to Florida Today.

“Our aspiration will be zero hardware changes, reflight in 24 hours,” Musk said at the press conference. “The only thing that changes is we reload propellant.”

With more testing on the horizon it’s possible that SpaceX could reach its productivity goal at the cusp of 2018.

Florida Today reported that “the air frame and engines remained the same, but some auxiliary components were replaced.” Musk said that the Falcon Heavy tests could be done in two to three months.

“Speaking on Falcon Heavy overall, Musk said at first, strapping together three first stage boosters for a heavy-lift rocket ‘sounded easy,’” reported Florida Today.

“It was actually shockingly difficult to go from a single core to a triple core vehicle,” Musk said at the press conference. He also confirmed discounted prices at the launch’s press conference: “It will certainly be less than the current price of our rockets and will be far lower than any other rocket in the world.”

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