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While the article provides a lot of good background on SpaceX’s increasing sales of reused first stages, including the fact that 20% of SpaceX’s launches this year might end up using re-used first stages, an amazing number consider this is also the first year they are doing so, this quote from the article however is even more astonishing:
Importantly for Iridium, and for the launch market as a whole, Iridium revealed in its announcement that the cost of insuring the Iridium NEXT-4 and -5 missions did not change with the switch to flight-proven boosters. “Iridium confirmed with its insurers that there is no increase in premium for the launch program as a result of the use of flight-proven Falcon 9 rockets, further supporting Iridium’s conclusion that the risk profile is unchanged,” noted the release.
Overall, this is an excellent sign that the all-important insurance market element of spaceflight continues to see no increased risk with launching atop flight-proven boosters.
One of my sources close to SpaceX says that the company will likely not fly these reused first stages intact more than twice, but will still salvage the engines for additional reuses. Considering the engines are the most expensive component, this makes great sense. Even if SpaceX doesn’t fly a first stage intact, it has developed an efficient and effective method for recovering the engines for reuse.