Historic SpaceX rocket launch could transform spaceflight

The white Falcon 9 rocket contains a tall, column-like portion known as the first stage, or booster, propelled the unmanned Dragon cargo ship to space previous year, then returned to an upright landing on an ocean platform. If successful it will mark the first time a reusable rocket has been sent into space. With each Falcon 9 launch carrying a $61 million price tag, the reused rockets are expected to decrease expenses by about 30 percent, according to Agence French-Presse.

The launch window starts at 6:27pm (EDT) and will last for two-and-a-half hours.

However over recent weeks, in test flights, Falcon 9 has so far successfully landed on so-called "drone ships" floating in the ocean, whilst doing the same three times on land. He stated that a re-launch of a Falcon 9 rocket could give as much as a 30 percent discount to customers, which could very easily lower the staggering US$62 million cost of the rocket booster right now.

The webcast tonight should begin about 20 minutes before the launch window opens, and we wouldn't miss it for anything.

But recapturing the rocket is a secondary concern for SpaceX. Once the re-used rocket has deployed the satellite into orbit it will return to SpaceX's droneship "Of Course I Still Love You".

The company plans to land the rocket on a barge again, opening up the possibility of the first third launch as well.

SpaceX, the California-based company headed by internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, has for years been honing the technology of powering its boosters back to careful Earth landings on solid ground and in the water.

SES-10 is the first satellite designed by SES, which is based in Luxembourg, to be intended specifically to serve Latin America.

Ideally, this is a proof-of-concept for reusing rockets, one of Elon Musk's main goals for SpaceX.

"There are worries about it failing, insurance implications, retrofitting turnaround, building up a critical mass of reused first stages in the warehouse", said Jefferies International. "That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space".

In a press kit for today's launch attempt, SpaceX described the flight as a "historic milestone on the road to full and rapid reusability". Do let us know what you feel about this launch and the future of SpaceX after this.