SpaceX Makes History! Rocket Takes Off Then Lands in Upright Position
On Monday, SpaceX went where no space company has ever gone before.
Its unmanned Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from a launch pad in Florida before releasing 11 satellites into orbit. It then successfully landed its 15-story leftover booster an upright position in Cape Canaveral approximately 10 minutes later.
The remarkable feat by SpaceX, the California-based company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, could pave the way for reusable rocket parts. Musk says the move would drastically reduce launch costs.
After the booster returned safely to Earth on Monday, Musk shared his joy on Twitter.
11 satellites deployed to target orbit and Falcon has landed back at Cape Canaveral. Headed to LZ-1. Welcome back, baby!- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2015
Speaking to reporters, he added: "It's a revolutionary moment. No-one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact."
Another company, Blue Origin, successfully landed a booster last month in Texas last month, but SpaceX's booster was powerful enough to put out satellites before returning.
Cape Canaveral's Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith said in a statement: "This was a first for us at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and I can't even begin to describe the excitement the team feels right now having been a part of this historic first-stage rocket landing."
It comes six months after the Falcon 9 rocket failed shortly after liftoff and destroyed a supply ship that was heading to the International Space Station.