Private spaceflight company SpaceX has successfully carried out a test to land a first-stage booster rocket, paving the way for a reusable launch rocket that will substantially reduce the cost of space travel.
The Falcon 9 rocket landed at the newly-created Landing Zone 1 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 8:38 p.m. ET on Monday, just under 10 minutes after the rocket launched to deliver 11 satellites to low-Earth orbit. It followed a disastrous launch attempt in June and a failed landing attempt in January, during which the rocket crashed on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean.
SpaceX employees and others present to witness the landing attempt burst out in cheers as the Falcon 9 rocket touched down without any signs of trouble, carrying out a feat that was once thought of as virtually impossible.
Traditional booster rockets have always either burned up during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere or crashed into the ocean, never to be used again, but SpaceX’s new project creates a reusable rocket. “[It would] substantially reduce the cost of space access,” and would likely innovate space travel in many ways, SpaceX explained earlier.
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