After a test-firing in late January, 2017 one the boosters that have been successfully landed by Spacex is now being transported to Cape Canaveral in preparation for the SES launch, tentatively scheduled for March. Other SpaceX rockets not slated for re-launch have undergone as many as seven test-firings.
Reuse is "just as fundamental in rocketry as it is in other forms of transport – such as cars or planes or bicycles," Mr. Musk said in a briefing after last year's April launch.
Imagine if you could only use an automobile once, driving to your destination, and then buying another to return home. Only the richest of the rich would be able to go on road trips in such a world. Now imagine that car costs from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars.
"There are ongoing challenges in translating a reused rocket to tangible capex savings – worries about it failing, insurance implications, retrofitting turnaround, building up a critical mass of reused first stages in the warehouse," Jefferies International LLC, an investment bank covering telecommunications satellites, wrote in a report studying SpaceX's costs.
In addition to the substantial added costs of insurance, testing, and refurbishing, landing a rocket takes more fuel too. As much as 30 percent more propellant, according to French space agency CNES. That's more weight the engines need to hoist into space, where kilograms don't come cheap.