Things just got real. Elon Musk has long sought to revolutionize the space travel industry and a big part of that was contingent on whether rockets could be reused. On Monday, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully re-landed on ground at Cape Canaveral, Florida, after traveling into space, proving that affordable space travel isn't just science fiction.
Normally, booster rockets are jettisoned off the aircraft during liftoff, but that spells high costs as rockets would constantly need to be replaced. SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to conduct 12 unmanned missions to supply the International Space Station and see whether its technology could revert this costly dilemma. According to The Verge, creating a brand new rocket costs $16 million, whereas a simple refuel would set you back just $200,000.
The first flight test took place in September 2013. Tests in January and April this year led to disappointment in the re-landing stage. Though the rockets were guided to their floating landing platforms out at sea, they were not able to land upright. Shortly after the April test, Musk tweeted, "Looks like Falcon landed fine, but excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over post landing." December's test marked the first since Falcon 9's disastrous launch in June that saw one of its rockets explode a couple minutes after takeoff.
But it was the Falcon 9's eighth run on Monday that gave the company what it was looking for: a successful vertical re-landing.
The launch begins around 32:25, and the landing happens around 42:00. Check it out below and watch SpaceX make history.