Refurbished SpaceX Booster Less Than Half the Cost of New Rocket

Colorado Springs, Colo.—The cost to refurbish SpaceX’s recycled Falcon 9 rocket was “substantially less than half the build” cost of a new rocket, said Gwynne Shotwell, company president and CEO, at the 33rd Space Symposium here Wednesday. Last week, SpaceX successfully reused a booster rocket for the first time in space launch history. Shotwell also reiterated company founder Elon Musk’s promise to “refly a rocket within 24 hours.” It took about one year to launch the first recovered Falcon 9. Reduced cost of launch services has been a major factor in recent Air Force contract awards, including the March 14 contract SpaceX won to launch the third GPS III satellite. The company is also planning to recover fairings from their launched rockets, Shotwell said. “We did recover at least one” from the March 30 launch, “and it looked pretty good,” she said. While SpaceX has not yet tested the fairing for reusability, Shotwell promised, “You’ll see more fairing recoveries as we go.” SpaceX has now successfully landed the Falcon 9 rocket nine times.