"It means you can fly and refly an orbital class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket". After the launch, the Falcon 9 was successfully landed, ready to be used again.
Today's attempt had been pushed back several times in the last two weeks, most recently because SpaceX detected particles in the second stage fuel system.
The launch will be the first SpaceX launch for NASA featuring an already-used first stage booster for the Falcon 9.
Today's rocket launch was originally scheduled to go off December 8 and was then delayed three times.
"The net result is about equivalent risk", he told reporters Monday. But so far, only a few of the company's commercial customers have taken the plunge and put their satellites on previously flown Falcon 9 rockets.
GETTYSpaceX launch The space company will deliver cargo to the International Space Station
This is a big deal; the cost of getting things to orbit will definitely be reduced if we don't need a whole new delivery vehicle every time.
The launch Friday was the first time NASA agreed to put cargo on a re-flown Falcon 9.
Then, the second stage continued to propel the Dragon toward the International Space Station, while the tall portion of the rocket powered its engines to guide it back to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
NASA officials said they will review the possibility of flying future space station cargo missions on reused rockets on a case-by-case basis. When SLC-40 went offline previous year, SpaceX had to rely on its other pad at the Cape, a site called LC-39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, to launch all of its Florida missions. Astronaut Mark Vande Hei will unlimber the station's Canadian-built robotic arm to capture the Dragon spacecraft around 6 a.m. EST (1100 GMT) Sunday, and the ship will be attached to research lab's Harmony module for unloading. Both experiment packages will be mounted outside the station with the robot arm. There might be some Christmas presents in there, too.