After a high-profile failure in April where SpaceX tried to land a rocket booster on an ocean platform, the company run by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk scored a major achievement just before Christmas when it successfully landed a rocket booster on a Florida landing site.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s primary mission was to install 11 satellites in orbit as part of a communications network. Under conventional rocket technology, boosters detach and fall to Earth while the space capsule (whether carrying astronauts or a mechanical payload) continues into orbit.
What Musk is seeking to do is create a reusable booster that would go a long way toward reducing the cost of space flight. Because of Earth gravity, a massive amount of fuel and thrust is required to achieve escape velocity. If the booster, which houses the engine where the thrust is generated, can be reused that’s a huge cost saving that would open the door to much more human activity in space.
Here’s footage of the successful landing here: