SpaceX to launched its Falcon 9 rocket early Saturday morning in an ambitious attempt to open a new era of rocket reusability, potentially reshaping space travel after years of fits and starts.
The Falcon 9 launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:47 a.m. E.T., and will attempt to land the first stage of the rocket on an ocean barge. An initial launch attempt was scrapped at the last minute a few days earlier.
Since the beginning of space programs, rockets have been used just once and then discarded. Billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX venture is aimed at making spaceflight more affordable by creating reusable rockets.
“If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred,” Musk once said. “A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space.”