It took a bit of trial and error, but SpaceX has finally pulled it off — the Falcon 9 rocket is officially a reusable piece of space tech.
The private space firm has been working the past year to turn its Falcon 9 into a reusable rocket, essentially by using it to blast a payload (satellites, space ships, etc.) into space, then bringing the rocket back down to the ground and landing it. The first few attempts were close, and on Monday night the company had its first fully successful landing. The launch and landing occurred at Cape Canaveral in Florida. A fitting historical location for such a momentous event.
Ironically enough, SpaceX founder Elon Musk noted that the Falcon 9 that landed on Monday night will never actually be reused on another mission. Instead, they plan on hanging on to this one for posterity’s sake. But the rocket will be fired up and tested on the ground to ensure that it technically would work in the event of a second launch.
Though SpaceX has been trying a while longer, the Falcon 9 landing is the second landing this year of a reusable rocket — following Blue Origin’s successful launch and landing of its own rocket. The SpaceX rocket is faster and more complex, meaning it was a bit harder to pull off than Blur Origin’s test, but it’s still huge. Building rockets is a huge part of the expense for space travel. Reusable rockets could solve that and make space travel a whole lot cheaper in the future.
Check out the successful landing below, put it on repeat, and geek on out: