Though previous attempts had proven unsuccessful, Elon Musk's SpaceX has made history today by becoming the first spaceflight company to successfully launch and vertically land a rocket back on Earth.
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket returned to a prepared landing zone at Cape Canaveral after propelling its payload of 11 satellites over 100 kilometres (62 miles) above the Earth, after which the second stage of the mission took over – in case you were wondering, the satellites were also successfully deployed.
The mission also marks the first time that SpaceX has attempted to return a rocket to land, as prior attempts tried (and failed) to land the boosters on floating landing pads.
(Fast-forward to 32:26 for the landing)
SpaceX and rival Blue Origin have been working towards the creation of reusable rocket boosters for some time, in an attempt to reduce the incredible cost of space travel – often considered the main obstacle hindering the introduction of commercial space flights.
The Falcon 9 was the first rocket launched by SpaceX since a failed attempt in June which resulted in an explosion immediately after liftoff.
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