SpaceX launches first recycled rocket in test of cost-cutting model

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CAPE CANAVERAL,  Mar 31 – A recycled SpaceX rocket recovered at sea from its first flight nearly a year ago blasted off again on Thursday from Florida on a satellite-delivery mission, another key step in founder Elon Musk’s plan to slash launch costs by reusing his rockets. The Falcon 9 booster, which previously flew in April 2016, lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 6:27 p.m. EDT (2227 GMT) to put a communications satellite into orbit for Luxembourg-based SES SA. The booster’s main section was set to attempt to land itself on a floating platform in the ocean, which would enable its recovery for a possible third mission. Musk’s SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp, made history in December 2015 when it landed an orbital rocket after launch for the first time, a feat it since has repeated seven times. By reusing rockets, SpaceX aims to cut its costs by about 30 percent, the company has said. It lists the cost of a Falcon 9 ride at $62 million but has not yet announced a price for flying on a recycled rocket. “We’re really looking for true operational reusability like an aircraft,” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said during a launch webcast. “We’re looking to land and relaunch on the same day