SpaceX's two ambitious Falcon 9 launches this weekend will showcase its ability to send rockets into space more frequently than its competitors.
If all plays out successfully, Elon Musk's spacecraft and rocket company could win more multimillion-dollar launch contracts (SpaceX has received contracts from NASA and the U.S. Air Force). Additionally, the missions will demonstrate SpaceX's ability to reuse rocket boosters. The first launch will be at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the second will be from California.
That's been one of Musk's primary goals, and it could eventually save space programs large sums of money. Because rockets often crash into the ocean or desert, they're typically thought of as disposable. But Musk is trying to lower the cost of space travel by getting his rockets to land on autonomous platforms floating in the ocean; SpaceX has spent at least $1 billion developing these capabilities, according to Quartz.
"This is going to be a huge revolution for spaceflight," Musk said on March 30 when his first recycled rocket launched. "It's been 15 years to get to this point."
The rocket set for Friday's launch is a recycled booster and the other is brand new. SpaceX wants both to land on robotic platforms. Friday's mission will launch Bulgaria's first geostationary satellite, the first privately owned satellite to supply communication services to Eastern Europe, Quartz reported. Sunday's launch will send 10 satellites as part of a deal between mobile satellite communications company Iridium and SpaceX.