Enlarge / With the static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket complete, SpaceX is targeting June 1 for its next launch from Pad 39A. (credit: SpaceX)
SpaceX took a big step toward a fully reusable launch system earlier this year by re-flying a used Falcon 9 booster, and it is making progress toward eventually recovering the rocket’s upper stage and payload fairing. Now, the company is set to try and and recover another key component of its space hardware—a Dragon cargo spacecraft.
The launch window for the supply mission opens on Thursday, June 1, at 5:55pm ET.
This particular Dragon spacecraft was sent to the International Space Station in September 2014, and it delivered nearly 2.5 tons of cargo to the orbiting laboratory.
The Dragon returned to Earth about a month later, splashing down into the ocean.
It is not clear how much processing SpaceX has had to undertake to ready the spacecraft for its second flight to the station, nor has the company released a cost estimate.
It also had to manufacture a new “trunk,” the unpressurized rear section of the vehicle, and solar panels.
Although company has never placed a hard dollar value on the Dragon, the savings could be considerable.
SpaceX received a contract worth $1.6 billion from NASA for 12 cargo supply missions to the station in 2008—about $130 million per flight.
That would have included the cost of the booster, of course, so therefore an individual Dragon spacecraft is likely valued at between $20 million to $60 million.
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