Recycled Rocket and Spacecraft Lift Off into Space

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. refurbished / riˈfɜr bɪʃt / (adj) – restored to its original condition

    Consider buying refurbished laptops because they are cheaper than new ones.

  2. slash / slæʃ / (v) – to reduce cost

    The employer was forced to fire some employees to slash expenses.

  3. flagship / ˈflægˌʃɪp / (n) – the most important product

    Smartphones are the flagship of our company.

  4. commercially / kəˈmɜr ʃəli / (adv) – in relation to the buying and selling of goods and services

    The rocket is for private use and not available commercially.

  5. in the pipeline / ɪn ðə ˈpaɪpˌlaɪn / (idiom) – being developed

    The company’s newest rocket model is in the pipeline.


Read the text below.

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation or SpaceX has launched a recycled rocket and spacecraft into outer space.

SpaceX is a rocket and spacecraft manufacturer established in 2002 by Elon Musk, an American businessman. The company was commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), a research laboratory. For this mission, the company sent off its recycled Falcon 9 rocket along with a refurbished spacecraft called the Dragon for the first time in December last year.

The Falcon was initially reused in March 2017 while the Dragon was sent to the ISS for the first time in 2015.

According to Musk, this launch is also SpaceX’s step toward improving the reusability of its space vehicles and slashing its manufacturing costs. Aside from these, reusing rockets will also lessen wastes in the space industry.

While the SpaceX’s competitors build new rockets for each launch, Musk aims to produce rockets that are capable of re-flight within 24 hours. In hopes of reaching this goal, the company has started testing several flights that used recycled rockets last year.

Musk is not the only one looking into reusing spacecraft. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, will also release a reusable rocket in 2018. The rocket, named New Shepard, is a flagship of his own manufacturing firm called Blue Origin. But unlike the Falcon 9, New Shepard will be used commercially for space tourism and its passengers will have to pay to ride it.

Additionally, Russia, Japan, Europe, and the Indian Space agency have announced that their own reusable rockets are in the pipeline.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• What do you think are the risks of using recycled rockets and spacecraft?
• Do you think it is safe to transport astronauts using recycled capsules? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think investing in space explorations is worth it? Why or why not?
• What other areas of the universe should be explored?