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Giant Musk-stick test-firing proves a rocket can rise twice

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Irene Diaz
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Vid A SpaceX video posted late last week is as boring as it gets: the Falcon 9 rocket doesn't even lift off.

It is, however, special for this: it's the first time a rocket's first stage has ever been fuelled up and fired after it's been to space.

The nine Merlin engines were dosed up with kerosene and given their full burn time, as part of the Elon Musk company's preparation for a future launch that will be the first time in history a booster will lift a second cargo.

Thursday's test firing was the booster that launched a Japanese communications satellite in May.

It's had something of a hard life, which is why it was used for the test firing: to get the satellite into geostationary orbit demanded a high-velocity launch.

Spaceflight Now notes the JCSAT 2B launch exposed this booster to a 6,300 km/h re-entry before it successfully dropped on its barge in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Irene Diaz
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