SpaceX has had a huge breakthrough in the U.S tonight by making a big step toward validating reusable rockets. The Falcon 9 went into space and then came back to Earth for a successful landing.
CEO of SpaceX, Mr. Elon Musk, has got to be pretty happy about this. He cops a lot of crap in the media, so this is a great moment of credibility for his company.
As big as this is for SpaceX, it’s not the first time a vertical take-off rocket has landed upright after launching into space. The private spaceflight company Blue Origin landed its rocket New Shepard last month. However, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is far more complex as it’s designed to go higher in space, and much faster.
Prominent space people are now bandwagoning.
Congrats @SpaceX on landing Falcon's suborbital booster stage. Welcome to the club!
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) December 22, 2015
Elon can't say this, but "nail in the coffin" for traditional launch industry. No way to compete with Falcon-Reusability & performance.
— Peter Diamandis (@PeterDiamandis) December 22, 2015
Elon Musk and SpaceX have previously failed at this twice. Once back in January and again in April. The rockets fell over and exploded both times.
Since then, SpaceX has modified their rockets in regards to structure and an updated engine that provides more thrust.
If SpaceX can routinely reuse rockets then spaceflight can eventually become more affordable. That’s essentially the breakthrough here!
Have a look at this video of the landing. The pandemonium is excellent:
The Falcon9 currently costs $16 million to manufacture and $200,000 to fuel.
Due to its reusability eliminating the $16 million part will drastically bring down launch costs. Mr. Musk has said that this particular model will not fly again, but none the less, it’s been part of a breakthrough.
Competing launch providers and private space companies may have to seriously explore reusable rockets as well to compete with SpaceX on future contracts.