SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket that has flown before, a key step in billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's quest to cut the cost of space flight. Fred Katayama reports.
SpaceX is launching a used Falcon 9 rocket Thursday night from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will deliver a communications satellite into orbit that will serve Latin America. Falcon 9 has flown before, and reusing it is a first for the space industry. But SpaceX says it's a key step in cutting costs of space flights by as much as 30 percent. Vladimir Golubev of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach: (SOUNDBITE) DR. VLADIMIR V. GOLUBEV, PROFESSOR OF AEROSPACE ENGINEERING, DIRECTOR OF PROPULSION AND AERODYNAMICS, EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's a big deal because, again, this will allow him to cut costs by 30 percent, so in terms of discounts which he will offer to the satellite industry and other ventures which he'll be able to launch, you know, space craft and set it into space, so it's very significant, of course. Again, for him, it's gong to be a significant competitive advantage." SpaceX - a company run by a visionary businessman Elon Musk - is also working on a passenger spaceship. It already signed up two unidentified tourists for a future trip around the moon. The company's long-term goal is to fly people to and from Mars.