October 11th saw another 100 per cent successful launch for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, and a flawless landing of the craft’s first stage. It was the third time that SpaceX had flown a previously-used first stage, and the 15th launch this year (with another half-dozen likely by year-end).
The success confirmed SpaceX’s senior director Tom Ochinero comments, speaking ahead of the launch at the Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC) meeting in Tokyo, to stress that SpaceX had no intention of dropping its Falcon 9 rocket system in favour of the either its Falcon ‘Heavy’ version, or SpaceX’s ‘BFR’ now in advanced development in readiness for planned flights to Mars.
Ochinero, quoted by Space Intel Report, said that the market would get an option to make use of the larger rockets, and there would be a natural transition towards these more efficient vehicles. He said that the ‘BFR’ would be fully reusable, and thus with superior economics. Meanwhile, the first Falcon ‘Heavy’ launch (with its 27 engines) is set for later in 2017.
He expanded on plans which SpaceX have to build an all-new launch site in Texas, on the Mexican border, saying that the new site would enable up to six launches a month, if desired.