The reusable rocket test is expected to occur after the company's Falcon 9 rocket launches a robotic Dragon capsule on its way to the International Space Station for NASA next month. The launch was originally slated for Friday (Dec, 19), but SpaceX officials announced today that it will wait until the New Year to launch the misson to allow time for extra tests to ensure the rocket is ready to fly.
The test could mark a big step on the way toward creating reusable rockets in the future, according to SpaceX.
"A fully and rapidly reusable rocket — which has never been done before — is the pivotal breakthrough needed to substantially reduce the cost of space access," SpaceX representatives said in a statement. "While most rockets are designed to burn up on reentry, SpaceX is building rockets that not only withstand reentry, but also land safely on Earth to be refueled and fly again. Over the next year, SpaceX has at least a dozen launches planned with a number of additional testing opportunities. Given what we know today, we believe it is quite likely that with one of those flights we will not only be able to land a Falcon 9 first stage, but also refly."