SpaceX has done the impossible. This is the first time a rocket has entered space and then returned back to earth to land on a remotely piloted platform, known as a droneship, in the Atlantic Ocean.
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Just before 6:30 pm, the once used rocket, Falcon 9, launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It took a mere eight minutes for Falcon 9 to reach its target 22,000 miles into space.
Once the rocket reached the geosynchronous orbit, it dropped off a satellite called SES-10. Once the transfer was complete, it was time for Falcon 9 to make its descent back to earth.
SpaceX’s video shows an empty drone ship named “Of Course I Still Love You” waiting to receive the rocket. The video feed cuts momentarily as it makes it descent. When it comes back on, the rocket is sitting upright, mission accomplished.
“It shows you can fly and refly an orbit-class booster, which is the most expensive part of the rocket,” Musk said on a SpaceX webcast. “This is ultimately a huge revolution in spaceflight.”
Elon Musk, who runs SpaceX and is the CEO of Telsa, didn’t let this amazing endeavor stop him from sharing his future ambitions on Twitter. “Incredibly proud of the SpaceX team for achieving this milestone in space! Next goal is reflight within 24 hours” he wrote.
The accomplishment will have lasting implications for future space travel. Musk says reusing rockets has always been a major goal of the company. It will essentially make space travel cheaper.
Falcon 9 reportedly cost $62 million but now that the rockets can be reused, it will drastically lower costs.
SpaceX’s COO Gwynne Shotwell stated in a video on their website that this bodes well for their future plans to travel to Mars.
“Given the goals of SpaceX are to provide space transportation to other planets, we want to make sure whoever we take can come back,” she said.
The dream of space travel for ordinary citizens is now one step closer.