Yeah, this is huge. The quick report, via Bloomberg Business…
Elon Musk’s SpaceX showcased his dream of reusable spacecraft by making a Falcon 9 booster the first piece of an orbital rocket to land back on Earth minutes after lofting satellites toward orbit.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. pulled off the soft, vertical touchdown after the two-stage rocket propelled its payload of 11 Orbcomm Inc. satellites aloft. It was the company’s first flight since a fiery blast destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket in June, minutes after lift off.
“Welcome back, baby!” Musk wrote in a Twitter post on his way to the landing zone.
Monday’s mission helped validate Musk’s vision for lower-cost spaceflight and provides SpaceX a boost in his race with fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos to develop craft that can survive fiery blasts and return to Earth to be reused. Instead of ditching the booster, SpaceX used thrusters and sophisticated navigation to steer it from space to Landing Zone 1, a former U.S. Air Force rocket and missile testing range.