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SpaceX plans to relaunch a used rocket later this year for the first time: Musk

Elon Musk has announced that his SpaceX program will re-use one of its Falcon 9 rockets for the first time, a major step in the development of the billionaire's space exploration firm.

Musk took to Twitter Tuesday to show the four Falcon 9 rockets, which have all been launched and landed back safely, and touted the potential launch dates of September or October.

Traditionally a rocket would launch into space, drop off its payload, and then discarded. But the return landings of rockets could dramatically cut costs of space missions, something that SpaceX and rival Blue Origin, which is headed up by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, hope to achieve.

So far there have been four successful landings of Falcon 9 rockets. The first happened in December, followed by another three earlier this year in which the rocket landed on a drone ship in the sea.

Now the plan is to take one of those rockets and re-launch it with cargo. Musk did not reveal who the customers – or what the payload –would be.

Musk's ambitions don't stop at the earth's orbit. Last week, the billionaire outlined plans to take humans to Mars by 2024.