July 28, 2016 – SpaceX successfully conducted a full-duration test fire of the Falcon 9 booster recovered from a launch earlier this year. Not intending to re-fly the JCSAT 14 booster – it’s designated a ‘reference vehicle’ by SpaceX – the company hopes to put the launcher through a variety of tests in order to determine the viability of re-using recovered stages.
This particular booster experienced significantly greater re-entry and landing stresses as its flight profile was for a payload being delivered to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), as opposed to the booster recovered from the recent CRS-9 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which is in a much lower orbit.
SpaceX asserts that reusability is a key to lowering the cost of getting cargo and crew to orbit, and this is the first step in achieving that goal. SpaceX’s Elon Musk has said that they plan to launch a recovered booster later this year. Notably, communications satellite company SES has indicated a willingness to be the first to fly on a recovered booster, though there’s been no public announcement from SpaceX about the customer for that historic launch.