See SpaceX fire up a recycled rocket for the first time

SpaceX has a grand plan to do away with single-use space rockets, and it took a big step toward completing its ambitious recycling program this week.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
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Eric Mack

SpaceX is all about a couple of big ideas. The really big one is getting people off this rock and on to Mars. The other is a practical step to help make that longer-term goal possible: making rockets that are recyclable and reusable.

On Thursday, SpaceX came a little closer to taking that big step by performing the first full test-firing of a rocket that it successfully landed and recovered after the Falcon 9 helped launch a Japanese satellite in May.

While there's nothing super dramatic about the test that took place at SpaceX's Texas test facility, it's always impressive to see the insane amount of power released by the 2.5-minute full firing up close. It's also history in the making. For decades, space programs have been letting solid most rockets fall into the ocean after one use, never to be recovered, unless you're Jeff Bezos.

SpaceX has performed other tests and firings on its used rockets over the past year, but this is the first stand-up, full-duration test of a recycled rocket, according to the company.

The most badass recycling program in history may finally bear fruit soon. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in June that the first reflight of a rocket could happen in September or October.

Watch this: SpaceX launches the Falcon 9