The Falcon 9 booster that made the historic first powered controlled landing of a space rocket is good to go again. According to a tweet from SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, the "Falcon 9 [is] back in hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again." However, the future of the now-famous rocket is probably earthbound.
On December 21, 2015, the Falcon 9 booster flew into the history books as it touched down on Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Ten minutes previously, the nine-engine rocket had thundered into space to deliver 11 communications satellites into low-Earth orbit. It then fired its engines twice again to kill its hypersonic velocity and steer it back to the Cape, where it set down on a dramatic tail of fire.
The landing was the latest step by SpaceX to create a fully reusable launch system that may bring down costs by allowing rockets to be quickly returned to the launch site. Once there, they can be quickly refueled and reused like aircraft rather than left to crash into the ocean or burn up in the atmosphere after one flight.
Though the Falcon 9 is none the worse for wear after its brief trip into space, it's unlikely to ever fly again. In a previous statement, a company spokesman said that because of its historic value, this particular rocket will be preserved and only used for static test firing to see how well the systems operate after the landing.
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