SpaceX recovers Falcon 9's $6-million nose cone for the first time

The company landed more than just the rocket's booster.

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Mariella Moon
March 30, 2017 11:34 PM
In this article: falcon9, reflight, rocket, science, space, spacex

SpaceX just made history by launching the world's first reflight of an orbital rocket and landing its first stage on a barge again. The booster wasn't the only part of the rocket the company recovered from the SES-10 mission, though: it also managed to land Falcon 9's $6 million nose cone for the first time ever. A rocket's nose cone, found at its very tip, protects its payload and makes sure it offers minimum aerodynamic resistance. Musk has announced its recovery during the post-launch press conference, calling it "the cherry on the cake."

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The SpaceX chief has revealed that the company used thrusters and steerable parachutes to guide two halves of the 16-foot-diameter cone back home. Musk and his team are hoping reusable rockets can make spaceflight a lot more affordable, so the more parts that can be reused, the better. Now that they've proven Falcon 9's first stage is reusable, they've set their sights on another goal: to relaunch a rocket within 24 hours of its last flight.

Wondering what happened to SES-10 since everybody keeps talking about SpaceX's rocket landing? It has successfully made its way to its new home in geostationary orbit.

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SpaceX recovers Falcon 9's $6-million nose cone for the first time