SpaceX lands the first stage of its Falcon 9 booster on a pad at Cape Canaveral, eleven minutes after the rocket launched. The control room fills with cheers and chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A”. The space-bound section of the rocket successfully delivers 11 satellites. CEO Musk says he is optimistic that Falcon re-flights will become “pretty straightforward,” and will make sense because of the roughly $60 million cost to build a Falcon 9, only about $200,000 is propellant that can’t be recovered. The bulk of the cost is embedded in the first stage and its nine Merlin engines.
I imagine that we’re going to have a whole fleet of booster rockets accumulating quite rapidly. Then we’ll figure out how to make the reuse as easy as possible, so that really no work is required between reuses, apart from refilling the propellant tanks.