Apart from just reusing rockets, SpaceX is now reusing capsules. As part of a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the company has launched a revamped Dragon capsule. Although not being as complex as Falcon 9, this vehicle has the capability to bear multiple launches without trouble. That’s important to SpaceX for cutting down the entire costs of spaceflight, as manned Dragon missions are going to be a reality.
The company also successfully landed its Falcon 9 rocket after sending Dragon capsule on its way. This time, the rocket landed at Cape Canaveral. As Falcon Heavy is yet to arrive and it’s expected that it will have enough fuel for return trips, SpaceX’s desire to land as many rockets as possible is limited.
Fruit flies and mice for the research
Apart from the food, water, clothing and other gears for the astronauts at the ISS, Dragon capsule is also carrying other things for scientific research. It’s containing some live passengers, including 40 mice and thousands of fruit flies. The mice will help on a project called Rodent Research-5, where the researchers study a new drug for osteoporosis or bone density loss. The fruit flies will be sued to study the effects on the heart of prolonged exposure to microgravity.
It’ll be a while before SpaceX’s rocket will be 100% reusable, it could be by 2018 as Elon Musk aims. It could mean a lot if it happens. Both SpaceX and NASA have to worry about some minor replacement instead of just throwing away millions of dollars worth of equipment after every launch. It could also make frequent launches and missions possible, which were once justified for being too expensive.