SpaceX Hits A Major Milestone On Its Way To Mars

SpaceX was able to launch and land a rocket booster it had already used, saving millions of dollars.
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SpaceX Hits A Major Milestone On Its Way To Mars

Buying used instead of new is a good way to save money on clothes, electronics and, apparently, space travel.

SpaceX successfully launched and landed one of its Falcon 9 rockets in the Atlantic Ocean. What's new is part of that rocket made a trip to the International Space Station in 2016.

The rocket's first stage, known as the booster, was saved from the 2016 mission and reused. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the landing marks a big first in the history of space travel.

"This is going to be, ultimately, a huge revolution in space flight. It's the difference between if you had airplanes where you threw away an airplane after every flight versus you could reuse them multiple times," Musk said after the landing.

You might be saying that NASA reused its shuttles, too. That's true, but they cost so much refurbish, it ended up being more expensive than just building them from scratch.

If rocket recycling becomes the norm for space travel, it could shave millions of dollars off the price tag of each launch and make a trip Mars much more feasible.

Don't start packing your bags for Mars just yet, though. The Falcon 9s aren't big enough for long-term space travel, but the expertise gained from these missions could speed up the timeline of landing people on the red planet.