SpaceX had exciting news Tuesday night when it announced that the first stage of one of its Falcon 9 rockets successfully landed in the Atlantic Ocean. The rocket splashed down after a mission placing six satellites into orbit. This isn’t the first attempted landing of a Falcon 9 rocket, but unlike last time, the damage was little enough to prove the rocket’s viability as a reusable way into space.
“This test confirms that the Falcon 9 booster is able consistently to reenter from space at hypersonic velocity, restart main engines twice, deploy landing legs and touch down at near zero velocity,” SpaceX said in an announcement. “After landing, the vehicle tipped sideways as planned to its final water safing state in a nearly horizontal position. The water impact caused loss of hull integrity, but we received all the necessary data to achieve a successful landing on a future flight.”
SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said repeatedly that he is committed to commercially feasible manned space flight. So far despite legal issues with Boeing and Lockheed Martin, his plans are proceeding at a rapid pace. SpaceX recently received approval from the FAA to build a spaceport along the Gulf of Mexico, and recently bought more land in the area for that purpose. The rockets are coming along too, with better landings on water and eventually landing on a solid surface in the pipeline for the Falcon 9.
“At this point, we are highly confident of being able to land successfully on a floating launch pad or back at the launch site and refly the rocket with no required refurbishment,” SpaceX stated.
Watch this amazing video taken on the Falcon 9 rocket as it landed and see a bit of the future of spaceflight for yourself.