Falcon 9 has landed! I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge a true innovation in space travel and rocket design:
The engineering behind landing the first stage of an orbital launch vehicle is staggering, and Elon Musk’s company SpaceX deserves a lot of credit for this accomplishment. Up until today, the first stages of orbital rockets could never be reused. This technology will significantly reduce the cost of launching payloads into space.
The rocket was carrying a commercial payload: 11 small data-relay satellites for Orbcomm of Rochelle Park, N.J. These satellites were successfully deployed into orbit.
“A jumbo jet costs about the same as one of our Falcon 9 rockets, but airlines don’t junk a plane after a one-way trip from LA to New York,” a SpaceX spokesperson said. The task is “like launching a pencil over the Empire State building and having it land on a shoebox on the other side…during a wind storm.”
Congratulations to everyone involved at SpaceX for this wonderful landing!