Elon Musk’s Space X made history yesterday by becoming the first spaceflight company to successfully launch and vertically land a rocket back on Earth.
After several failed attempts, Space X has finally been able to fully recover their rocket by safely landing it back on earth. The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket returned to a prepared landing zone at Cape Canaveral after propelling its payload of 11 satellites over 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Earth, after which the second stage of the mission took over ““ in case you were wondering, the satellites were also successfully deployed.
This successful mission is a huge boost to Space X after Jeff Bezos’ company, Blue Origin, achieved a similar feat (although reaching a lower altitude). The creation of reusable rockets will drastically reduce the cost of space flight and was historically the single biggest obstacle in the introduction of commercial space flights.
The mission also marks the first time that SpaceX has attempted to return a rocket to land, as prior attempts tried (and failed) to land the boosters on floating landing pads. The Falcon 9 was the first rocket launched by SpaceX since a failed attempt in June which resulted in an explosion immediately after liftoff.
Next year Space X will attempt to launch the Falcon Heavy, capable of carrying a 53,000 kg payload.